SVCG sent the following email to both the Sonoma city council and planning commission prior to the Sept 24 city council meeting:

Subject: Why Sonoma’s Elder Population Needs Safe, Local Access to a Cannabis Dispensary

To: Sonoma City Council, Sonoma Planning Commission and staff:

It is well known that cannabis has medical benefit for a variety of health issues. But, it also has preventive qualities. We would like to offer you the following article regarding recent research on the possible benefits of cannabis for learning and memory in older adults.

The article, Marijuana May Boost, Rather Than Dull, the Elderly Brain, can be seen here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/marijuana-may-boost-rather-than-dull-the-elderly-brain/

“The findings raise the intriguing possibility that THC and other “cannabinoids” might act as antiaging molecules in the brain.”

This is an important issue for seniors/boomers who are increasingly turning to cannabis to treat and manage their medical conditions.

“’Because of the public health concern, research has had a very strong focus on marijuana’s effects in adolescence,’ Ware says. But although young people make up the largest group of cannabis users, their rate of use has remained relatively stable over the past decade even as the drug has become increasingly available. Meanwhile use among seniors has skyrocketed as the drug’s stigma has faded. A March study showed that in people aged 50 to 64, marijuana use increased nearly 60 percent between 2006 and 2013. And among adults older than 65, the drug’s use jumped by 250 percent.”

We’ll also offer that, according to the 2010 US census, 30.5% of our city’s population is aged 45 to 64, and 25.0% are 65 years of age or older. In other words, 55% of Sonoma’s population is over the age of 45: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonoma,_California

Consider that many of Sonoma’s elder population exist on a limited income in senior housing. Many of them also no longer have an automobile and rely on friends, family, local taxi cabs and social transportation services to take them shopping, get to doctor appointments and run necessary errands. Travel to the closest dispensaries in Cotati or Santa Rosa is difficult for many, and impossible for some.

Delivery-only is not an appropriate option. A brick-and-mortar dispensary offers a first-hand view of available products and allows patients to consult with knowledgeable staff who can provide recommendations on strains and dosing. In the case of delivery, patients are unable to physically preview the medication to determine which item may best work for them before it arrives at the door. It’s also important to remember that many seniors are concerned with personal safety and are very guarded in who they want knocking on their doors.

Given all of the above, we ask that the City Council and Planning Commission recognize the very reasonable needs of our older population and remove the current roadblock to safe, local access to a cannabis dispensary.

As always, the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group is ready and willing to answer any questions you may have.

Sincerely,

Gil Latimer

Ken Brown

and the members of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

Timeline for Permanent Ordinance for Cannabis Regulations

From the Sonoma City Manager:

The permanent ordinance for cannabis regulations (including personal use and commercial) is going to follow the schedule below:

9/13 – Planning Commission Review (will make a recommendation to Council); agenda posted here: https://sonomacity.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Id=346

9/24 – City Council – Public Hearing and 1st reading of ordinance

10/1 – City Council – 2nd reading of ordinance

Ordinance effective date is 30 days after 10/1.

Notice of Public Hearing: City Council: Personal Outdoor Cultivation and Dispensary in City of Sonoma

Publish two times: Tuesday, September 4, 2018 and Friday, September 7, 2018

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

Notice is hereby given that the City Council of the City of Sonoma, at a meeting on September
24, 2018
to be held in the City Council Chambers at 177 First Street West, will conduct a public
hearing on the project described below at 6:00 p.m., or as soon thereafter as the matter may be
reached:

Project Description: Consideration of a draft ordinance amending the zoning regulations in Title 19
of the Municipal Code (Development Code) which are applicable to all property located within the
City by establishing: 1) allowances, restrictions, and requirements associated with the personal
cultivation of recreational and medicinal cannabis; and 2) a prohibition on commercial cannabis
activities possibly including a limited exception for delivery of medicinal cannabis.

CEQA: The City Council is expected to find the Project not subject to and is therefore exempt from
the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to any or all of the
following State CEQA Guidelines: 1) Section 15061(b)(3) because it can be seen with certainty that
there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the
environment; 2) Section 15301 (Class 1 exemption) for minor alteration of existing residential
structures; 3) Section 15304 (Class 4 exemption) for minor alteration in condition of land, water,
or vegetation.

Public Response Requested: The public is hereby invited to comment by sending written comments to
the City Council, c/o Sonoma City Hall, No. 1 The Plaza, Sonoma, CA 95476 no later than September
24, 2018. Interested persons are also invited to attend the public hearing and address any comments
directly to the City Council. The proposed ordinance and related materials are available for review
at Sonoma City Hall, No. 1 The Plaza, Sonoma, CA 95476. A staff report on the item will normally be
available at City Hall on the Friday prior to the meeting.

The City of Sonoma has, by resolution, adopted the time limits set forth in California Civil
Procedure Section 1094.6. Pursuant to these time limits, should any member of the public seek
judicial review of a decision on the project, such action must be filed no later than the ninetieth
day following the date that the administrative decision becomes final.

Notice of Public Hearing: Planning Commission: Personal Outdoor Cultivation and Dispensary in City of Sonoma

Notice is hereby given that the Planning Commission of the City of Sonoma, at a regular meeting on September 13, 2018 to be held in the City Council Chambers at 177 1st St. W., will conduct a public hearing on the subject described below at 6:30 PM, or as soon thereafter as the matter may be reached:

Project Description: Consideration of a draft ordinance amending the zoning regulations in Title 19 of the Municipal Code (Development Code) which are applicable to all property located within the city by establishing: 1) allowances, restrictions and requirements associated with the personal cultivation of recreational and medicinal cannabis; and 2) a prohibition on commercial cannabis activities possibly including a limited exception for delivery of medicinal cannabis.

Public Response Requested: The public is hereby invited to comment by sending written comments to the planning commission, c/o Sonoma City Hall, No. 1 The Plaza, Sonoma, CA 95476 no later than September 13, 2018. Interested persons are also invited to attend the public hearing and address any comments directly to the Planning Commission. The project application and related materials are available for review at Sonoma City Hall, No. 1 the Plaza, Sonoma, CA 95476. A Planning Department staff report on the item will normally be available at city hall on the Friday prior to the meeting.

Sonoma Index-Tribune: Bill Lynch: Whether cannabis or wine, Sonomans have been a thorn in the side of prohibitions

As the debate over whether the City of Sonoma should allow a cannabis dispensary in our midst, or at least a vote by local citizens, meanders on, I’m reminded of a similar controversy that lingered here for more than a decade, involving the rights of local vineyardists to make, and of local citizens to consume, wine and other alcoholic beverages.
It began with the passage in 1919 of the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Also known as the Volstead Act, it placed a prohibition on alcohol that dramatically affected not only the economy of Sonoma Valley, but the consumption preferences of most of its citizens, including most of the Sonoma City Council, local business leaders and the editor of the Sonoma Index-Tribune, my grand aunt, Celeste Murphy…read more…

Sonoma’s City Council votes to put cannabis initiative on Nov. 2020 ballot

Look for the Sonoma Citizens for Local Access initiative on the November ballot – November 2020, that is.
That was the result of a 90-minute special session of the Sonoma City Council, meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 24, when city officials convened for a presentation of the study the council had ordered on July 23 to evaluate a proposed initiative to allow cannabis cultivation and licensed dispensaries within the city limits. Petitioners, led by Sonoma cannabis entrepreneur Jon Early, gathered more than 750 certified signatures, in the hopes of qualifying the initiative for the November 2018 ballot. But on July 23, the City Council voted to conduct a study on the initiative’s possible effects, postponing its ballot appearance beyond 2018…read more…

For those interested, you can view the city council meeting here. First two minutes of video are black, meeting starts around the 2:00 minute mark…