BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – It’s bad medicine. At least that’s what the superintendent of an elementary school thinks about a medical marijuana evaluation shop opening up right across from the school.
The Kern Bako 420 Evaluations opened for business right at the beginning of the school year. Standard School Superintendent Paul Meyers thinks it is inappropriate, to say the least, to expose young students to a business dealing with marijuana. He believes there should be a safe school buffer zone.
Medical marijuana was made legal in California in 1996 when voters approved the Compassionate Use Act. It makes it legal for patients and their designated primary caregivers to possess and cultivate marijuana for their personal medical use given the recommendation or approval of a California-licensed physician. SB 420 was passed in January 2004 which, in part, allows patients to form medical cultivation ‘collectives’ or ‘cooperatives.’
That’s where Kern Bako 420 Evaluations comes in.
When KBAK/KBFX television stopped into the store to investigate the business, they asked a female employee if she knew that there was a school right across the street. She countered that they have a perfect right to be there, adding they are not a dispensary so there is no marijuana on the premises and only a doctor is present. The doctor only hands out medical marijuana ID cards.
She went on to point out that the shop does not have any signage on the outside of the building that says anything about marijuana. However, there is a green cross and some artwork of marijuana leaves next to the business name.
Meyers believes students, even at that young age, are perceptive. “They recognize that marijuana leaf,” he says.
Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute told EAG News the people that open up marijuana-related shops are not people who have care and compassion for the welfare of children. He says, “They’re in it to make the quick buck. It’s that simple. And the fact that they would have the audacity to do this in front of an elementary school should only raise the alarm all the more in the minds of parents and people in the community of what they can see and what they can expect when they decide to promote the full legalization and marketing of marijuana.”
He believes marijuana-related storefronts send a message to kids that marijuana is OK and it should be something that they should experiment with. Dacus says pot shops are just an attempt by owners to make a lot of money and the expense of children and communities.
Meyers is hoping that the Kern County Board of Supervisors will consider the idea of buffer zones. He says he’s been in touch with Supervisor Mike Maggard’s office and they have been very supportive. A spokeswoman in Maggard’s office told KBAK/KBFX television that they’ve heard a lot of complaints and that they are working on a solution.
He told the station, “I don’t think my board of trustees, my parents, my students appreciate this sort of infiltration of our youth.”