Sonoma Index-Tribune: Editorial: The low road to Sonoma

The ink hadn’t even dried on the ballot and already the Nov. 6 election was heading for the ditch.

That’s how it started in July when, following the Sonoma City Council’s 3-2 refusal to bring a signature-qualified cannabis-dispensary initiative to the voters this fall, dispensary businessman Jon Early emailed a “private message” to Councilmember David Cook, who had voted to withhold the initiative, warning him that “the gloves are off.”

“There’s a bullseye on your forehead at the moment,” wrote Early.

To say it was a poor choice of words is like saying the Hindenburg was a poor choice of transatlantic travel… read more…

Study: Sonoma dispensary initiative flawed and inconsistent

A study conducted this month by cannabis policy consultants estimates that just two dispensaries in the Sonoma area could generate about $250,000 in revenue for the city, a figure sure to give heart to cannabis supporters.

But the specific proposal they studied – the qualified initiative cannabis advocates presented to the City last month in a petition they hoped would go on the November ballot – had no provisions for levying or collecting that revenue, and the study further found it was flawed by ambiguities, inconsistencies and potential conflicts with state law…read more…

Letter to Editor: Dispensaries are inevitable

Our letter to Sonoma Index-Tribune, condemnation of Jon Early and more:

EDITOR: The Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group (SVCG) strongly condemns the malicious behavior of Jon Early toward Sonoma City Councilman David Cook (“Bullseye Email Raises Alarm at City Hall,” Aug. 7). We cannot stress more firmly that any level of threats or harassment of public officials or citizens is not only out of line, but ultimately counter-productive.

Mr. Early is not an honorable representative of the cannabis industry and its honest, hardworking entrepreneurs and advocates. By his actions, he has also abrogated his right to represent the citizens of Sonoma and the Valley on all cannabis-related matters.

The SVCG leadership never supported Mr. Early’s initiative and advised its members and others to forego signing his petition. Many in our group are familiar with numerous questions regarding his past business practices both within and outside of the cannabis industry.

Mr. Early successfully circulated his petition to put his cannabis measure on the November 2018 ballot. Unfortunately, this poorly conceived ordinance took most control away from the city council, prompting the majority to delay putting the measure on the ballot until 2020. Reportedly, Mr. Early was “gob smacked” by the decision. That Mr. Early believed he was blind-sided shows he had little sense of what motivates the city council, nor did those who advised him.

Gary Edwards, David Cook and Mayor Madolyn Agrimonti have always voted against permitting a dispensary in Sonoma and there was no reason they would vote any differently this time. Meanwhile, council members Amy Harrington and Rachel Hundley continued to support a dispensary, but remained the minority.

Councilmember Hundley made great effort to fashion a competing ordinance that would have been a better fit for the city. The majority of the council should have accepted it, but instead continued to cling to each other in their backward-thinking certainties. Let’s be clear. The three council members can’t keep avoiding the inevitable. Eventually, there will be a dispensary in this fair city and the “jewel” that is Sonoma will shine just as bright.

The Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group has worked tirelessly over the past year to persuade the city council of the need for a local medicinal dispensary, to no avail. We now turn our focus to helping elect new council members who understand the issue and will enact Councilmember Hundley’s ordinance.

Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

SVCG Letter to Sonoma City Council re: Jon Early

To: Sonoma City Council and Staff

The Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group (SVCG) strongly condemns the malicious behavior of Jon Early toward Sonoma City Councilman David Cook. We cannot stress more firmly that any level of threats or harassment of public officials or citizens is not only out of line, but ultimately counter-productive.

Mr. Early is not an honorable representative of the cannabis industry and its honest, hardworking entrepreneurs and advocates. By his actions, he has also abrogated his right to represent the citizens of Sonoma and the Valley on all cannabis-related matters.

Please know that the SVCG leadership never supported Mr. Early’s initiative and advised its members and others to forego signing his petition. Many in our group are familiar with numerous questions regarding his past business practices, both within and outside of the cannabis industry, and advised against endorsing him in any way.

Though we may have our differences of opinion — and it would be a dull, uninteresting time if we had not — they should never interfere with civility and principled behavior.

Yours in Sincerity,

Ken Brown

Gil Latimer

Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

‘Bullseye’ email about cannabis vote raises alarms at Sonoma City Hall

From the Sonoma Index-Tribune:

The public response to the Sonoma City Council’s July 23 decision to delay a citizen-driven cannabis-dispensary initiative beyond the Nov. 6 ballot has thus far focused on whether the council is impeding the democratic process.

But a far different drama played out last week in an email exchange between the initiative’s primary sponser, local cannabis advocate Jon Early, and the City of Sonoma.

On July 25, two days after the council’s 3-2 vote, Early sent an email with the subject line “A Private Message” to Councilmember David Cook, which Cook believed was incendiary enough to cause the two-term council member and former mayor to contact the city manager, the city attorney and the Sonoma Police, asking for protection… read more…

Sonoma Index-Tribune: Jason Walsh: Sonoma cannabis initiative up in smoke

Democracy is like the weather: Everybody talks about it, but nobody ever does anything about it.

That much was true July 23 when the Sonoma City Council put the kibosh on a signature-qualified Nov. 6 ballot initiative to let the voters decide whether cannabis dispensaries should be licensed within the city limits.

Such a community referendum was in play after cannabis activist and dispensary hopeful Jon Early gathered 767 valid signatures for a ballot initiative to allow for commercial use, cultivation and manufacturing of cannabis in Sonoma – a staunch rebuff of the council’s three-member majority who have generally agreed with Councilmember David Cook’s concern that a dispensary would be a stain upon Sonoma, the “jewel of Sonoma County” (Said jewel is clearly not emerald.)…read more…