Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez announced Tuesday she will no longer vote on marijuana issues in Kern.
Three months ago, 17 News presented an investigation asking whether Supervisor Perez had a conflict of interest when voting to regulate the marijuana industry in this county.
“For the impressions that have been given to the public that my intentions were ever anything but pure, I am so deeply apologetic and regretful, I don’t have words for it,” said Perez from her seat in chambers.
To catch you up.
In February, 17 News first reported Supervisor Perez’s husband Fernando Jara was actively involved in consulting and lobbying for marijuana interests in the lead up to last fall’s marijuana vote.
Supervisor Perez was the lone vote then in favor of allowing a regulated marijuana industry in Kern.
In February, Jara declined to be interviewed, but offered the statement: “I am not involved in the current circus acts being paraded in the media.”
Perez had not commented publicly on the accusations until Tuesday, when supervisors had to vote to receive a report on prospective marijuana voter initiatives.
But her decision to abstain was not made without taking a parting shot at a fellow supervisor.
“In my own consciousness my own duty to the public trust, I do not think it is appropriate for me to engage in a vote on this matter moving forward. And so I am going to abstain from any future votes on cannabis. I would ask my chairman to please consider the same in all due humility and respect to him this body and the public,” said Perez referring to chairman of the board Supervisor Mike Maggard.
Medical marijuana advocate David Abbasi has accused Maggard of working with local consultants to play favorites with certain dispensary owners in the event that the cannabis industry is regulated in Kern.
Maggard has called these allegations baseless and untrue.
We reached out to both Fernando Jara and Supervisor Maggard for comment on Supervisor Perez’s announcement, but neither responded by news time.
We also reached out to the District Attorney’s Office whose Public Integrity Unit is investigating all of the swirling accusations. The DA’s office says the investigation is still pending.