Lawsuit Claims Kern County Violated Pot Shops Owners’ Due Process Rights

A group of 10 medical marijuana dispensaries are suing Kern County over its medicinal pot shop ban on the grounds that it violates their constitutional rights to due process.

Kern County banned cannabis sales in 2017. The Californian explains what happened next:

A select group of 29 medical marijuana dispensaries was allowed to remain open with temporary permits granted by the Planning Department.

Dispensaries that were granted the permits became known as “legal non-conforming” dispensaries and were entered onto a list maintained by the county.

That list has been hotly debated ever since, with allegations of favoritism raised as some dispensaries were taken off the list and others added.

According to the suit, dispensaries were added and removed from the list based solely on whom Planning Director Lorelei Oviatt “liked” — a charge Oviatt has vehemently denied. It also claims non-white business owners were specifically targeted by the county.

In addition to the favoritism allegedly shown, three of the dispensaries say they were denied due process when they were forced to close and forfeit property “at gunpoint.” The seven litigants that remain in business fear coming retribution, the suit said.

The lawsuit names the county’s Board of Supervisors, several department heads and attorneys, and 1,000 unnamed persons with some unspecified involvement in the case. The plaintiffs are seeking $60 million in damages.



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