The Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group


bear in coffee shop hovering over keyboard typing about cannabis

Our mission is to assist the city of Sonoma form a compassionate cannabis policy that will accommodate a local dispensary and ensure safe and legal access to medical cannabis for the residents of Sonoma and Sonoma Valley. We’ll keep you informed on our progress and, if you haven’t already, please consider signing our petition, and tell your friends! You can find our petition here.


Newest Posts:


Sonoma’s lone dispensary license goes to Sparc

August 20, 2020

Sparc, a Santa Rosa-based cannabis company, will receive Sonoma’s lone business license to operate a storefront dispensary in the city limits.

The Sonoma City Council voted 5-0 at its Aug. 17 council meeting, held via the Zoom online platform, to award Sparc a conditional certificate for its proposed cannabis operations at 19315 Sonoma Highway, a site occupied by the recently closed El Gallo Pinto Mexican restaurant.

Under the city’s commercial cannabis ordinance passed in 2019, the city can issue only one license to operate a walk-in retail dispensary.

Are we happy about this? Sure, happy that the goal of so many, including Jewel Mathieson and Ken Brown, will be reached. But, are we happy about the specifics of this decision? No. For every argument made, there is a counter-argument.

More to come…

Read more…


We Mourn the Loss of Cannabis Pioneer, Jewel Mathieson

August 11, 2020
So very sad to say we have lost a such a good, good friend, Jewel Mathieson. Jewel was an industry pioneer for compassionate care and one of the founders of the Sonoma Patient Group of Santa Rosa.
We here in the city of Sonoma, can take some solace in knowing that Jewel saw all our hard work, our 3-year battle, really, finally result in a “win” for a dispensary here in the city. Our little town is experiencing quite a loss.
Jewel was a powerhouse, so compassionate, always ready with a smile and a laugh, but when faced with injustice, could spit bullets that could wither any adversary, especially when it came to compassionate care or women’s rights. Her passion helped fuel my efforts.
But, it was the lives she touched, whether through her pioneering work in this field, or the wonderful poetry she birthed, or her nurturing spirit for all life, that will keep her in our hearts.
Jewel was blessed with a wonderful family who were at her side. Ken Brown has been a very lucky man indeed and my deepest sympathies go to him, his son and daughters, and all those closest to her.
May peace be upon her… 🙏❤️
Let’s let Jewel speak…We are so grateful for all she gave us…
time to remember to dance…❤️

May 29 2020:   Top 5 Cannabis Business Finalists


February 2020:   Sonoma Cannabis Dispensary Update



large emoticon smile


To all SVCG members and everyone on our mailing list:

Congratulations! We did it. The two cannabis ordinances were finally passed in June of 2019 on a 3-2 to vote. See our newest posts, above, for the latest news on the process.

This campaign was never about making it easier for “stoners to get their weed”, as many of the opposition would like to think. It was always about the patients. Always. Now, the essential services that dispensaries can provide will become readily available within our own community. Once a dispensary opens its doors, those being treated for medical problems will no longer have to make a 2+ hour round trip drive to obtain safe, legal access to medicinal cannabis. For our seniors and the disabled who may not have vehicles or are on fixed incomes, local access will make their lives less stressful and difficult. In turn, the city will benefit from new jobs, an additional source of tax revenue and be able to take pride in furthering a progressive vision that improves the quality of its residents’ lives.

Thanks to everyone in this group and on our mailing list for their support, for signing the petition, for writing the letters and contributing to the discussions.😁

Thanks to Ken Brown and Jewel Mathieson for their years of advocacy for patients’ access to safe, legal medical cannabis. Their goal has finally been realized.😉

And thanks to our City Council allies Councilwoman Rachel E Hundley, Mayor Amy Harrington and Vice Mayor Logan Harvey for leaning forward on so many fronts to help define Sonoma as a city of progressive values and a pacesetter in Sonoma County.😀

In the meantime, the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group will continue to keep you all informed on new regulations, application development, a cannabis tax measure and the possible ramifications of a separate dispensary ballot initiative in 2020.

Best Regards,

Gil Latimer

Ken Brown

Jewel Mathieson


sonoma valley cannabis group logo for emails

Why the Residents of Sonoma Deserve a Local Dispensary

Cannabis dispensaries are proving to be an asset to the communities they serve, as well as the larger community within which they operate. The Americans for Safe Access survey of local officials and monitoring of regulatory activity throughout the State of California has shown that, once working regulatory ordinances are in place, dispensaries are typically viewed favorably by public officials, neighbors, businesses, and the community at large, and that regulatory ordinances can and do improve an area, both socially and economically.

• Sonoma patients should not be forced to make a 2+ hour round trip drive to obtain safe, legal access to medicinal cannabis. This can be especially difficult and stressful for the handicapped, those without a vehicle or are on a fixed income.
• Banning medical marijuana dispensaries places unnecessary hardship on patients with limited mobility and financial security.
• Prop 64 was adopted by 62% of Sonoma voters, more than any other county city or the county itself.
• Dispensaries provide essential services that should be readily available within the community.
• A rigid policy that bans medical cannabis dispensaries deprives patients of the medicine promised them by the Compassionate Use Act.

Regulated dispensaries are:medical marijuana products on dispensary shelf

• legal under California state law
• helping to revitalize neighborhoods by bringing new customers to neighboring businesses
• not a source of community complaints


Regulated cannabis dispensaries benefit the community by:

• providing access for the most seriously ill and injured
• offering a safer environment for patients than having to buy on the illicit market
• improving the health of patients through education and social support
• harm reduction for those dependent on narcotics (opioids) and over the counter drugs2
• having a greater than average customer satisfaction rating for health care
• creating jobs
• generating tax revenue
• offering additional revenue through a retail component
• Being a valuable source of charitable donations and direct community outreach

Creating dispensary regulations combats crime because:

• dispensary security reduces crime in the vicinity
• street sales tend to decrease
• patients and operators are vigilant, any criminal activity gets reported to police

“Delivery Only” not an option:

Patients often require first-hand experience at a physical, walk-in style dispensary that openly displays all options. Not only does a dispensary offer an immediate view, it allows the patient to consult with knowledgeable staff who can provide recommendations as to which strain and dosing methodology may best suit a patient’s needs. In the case of delivery, patients are unable to physically preview the medication and determine on their own which item on the menu is best for them until it arrives at the door.

Benefits of a Dispensary:

• charitable donations
• direct community outreach
• employment opportunities

Our city’s voters have gone too long without reasonable, safe, affordable access. Let’s lead Sonoma away from fear and toward compassionate understanding. Let’s find the courage to give our residents a better chance at improved health and quality of life.


Personal Outdoor Cultivation


Proposition 64 Approved by Voters

• The voters of the State of California and the city of Sonoma agree that medical patients can cultivate for their personal use, up to 100 square feet, and that adult users over 21 can cultivate up to 6 plants.

Outdoor Cultivation is Only Affordable Option for most Patients

four marijuana plants in pots

• It is not affordable for low-income patients to purchase equipment for indoor cultivation, pay high electric bills, or to build a structure that may require City Permits. We need to keep affordable options available for medical cannabis patients.

• Sun-grown medical marijuana is the most natural, affordable, medical quality medicine for patients to produce for themselves.

Outdoor Cultivation is Environmentally Friendly (Green)

• Compared to indoor grown cannabis, sungrown plants typically require less soil amendments, fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides, making the outdoor method much more environmentally friendly.

• The City of Sonoma prides itself in being green, sustainable, and environmentally conscious. By forcing cannabis cultivation indoors, it does not meet these goals, and increases our county’s Carbon footprint.


Indoor Cultivation is a Safety Risk


firemen fighting house fire started by growing marijuana indoors

• In-home cultivation can pose a bigger threat to public safety because lighting and ventilation systems can pose fire risks and other problems, like flooding, mold or other common by-products of agricultural activity inside a residence. According to Press Democrat search results, there have been at least 7 house fires associated with cannabis grows in the County in the last 4 years, two of which occurred in the greater Sonoma area. Considering the October fire, is it prudent to force residents to only cultivate indoors?

No Violent Crime

• Violent crime not an issue, as no large amounts of money are involved in 6 plant personal gardens.

Outdoor Bans Will Become Invalid

• According to Prop 64, any outdoor ban will likely become invalid when the California Attorney General determines that non-medical marijuana has become legal under federal law.

No State Grants for Cities that Ban Outdoor Cultivation

• Revenues will be generated statewide through taxes on cannabis sales and funds will be distributed “for making grants to local governments to assist with law enforcement, fire protection, or other local programs addressing public health and safety associated with the implementation of the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act.” However, the Board won’t make grants to local governments which have banned the cultivation, including personal cultivation under Section 11362.2(b)(3) of the Health and Safety Code [outdoors upon the grounds of a private residence], or retail sale of marijuana or marijuana products.

Mitigating Nuisance Issues


cow in field

• Odor: We live in a world of smells that aren’t always appealing to some. Breweries, coffee roasteries, auto exhausts are just a few that come to mind. We are subjected to the vinegary smell of grapes clipped from their vines and dropped in the vineyards along with hay and the lees from fermentation that are put back into the vineyards as compost. And of course, there is the infamous “Sonoma Aroma”. A couple of times each year, local dairy farmers start pumping out their holding ponds to spread cow manure on their fields. The odor can range from Petaluma to Sonoma in the east and all the way north to Healdsburg.

• Odor can be mitigated through companion planting of lavender, jasmine, rosemary, basil and many other pleasant smelling flowers and herbs.

• Consider that San Luis Obispo has resolved this issue through an ordinance that assumes that any odor (whether marijuana or not) is “offensive to individuals of normal sensitivity” if the city receives three or more complaints within a month from separate households or businesses about a single source of odor.


Water Use, Chemicals & Pesticides


natural pesticides for marijuana plants• These issues are not applicable to small personal grows. No one would use pesticides on cannabis anymore than on their green beans or melons. Cannabis doesn’t use any more water than your tomato plants.




Outdoor Cultivation Recommendation:

• Allow for personal cultivation of 6 plants outdoors for medical/personal use in accordance with State marijuana laws.