Sonoma Cannabis Town Hall Meeting!

town hall

Where: Sonoma Community Center, Andrews Hall, 276 E Napa St.
When: Wednesday, March 28 at 6:30 PM – 9 PM

This Town Hall will focus on background information — state regulations, overview of dispensaries, testing and manufacturing facilities; and options/issues for municipal regulation. There will be a question/answer portion, an exercise for attendees to give specific feedback, and a public comment period.

The City strongly encourages the public to come learn more about the cannabis industry and regulatory options available to cities. Public input on this important policy decision is important to the City Council as they make their decision regarding what regulations and what cannabis businesses to allow or prohibit in Sonoma in the next few months.

A second Town Hall will be held on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 6:30-9:00 PM
Location: Sonoma Community Center, Andrews Hall

City Omits SVCG from its Announcement of Upcoming Town Hall Meetings

Let me first say that none of us, not myself, not Ken Brown, nor Jewel Mathieson, nor, by association, our Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group, was included in the cc list of 75+ recipients of the following very important announcement regarding the city’s schedule of town hall meetings. That the dispensary issue’s most vocal group of citizens was omitted suggests a lack of respect for our nearly 200 members and the position we’ve taken on permitting safe, local access. No doubt excuses will be proffered by city staff in the hope that we take them in good faith. I am not inclined to do so. At the very least, former Mayor and SVCG co-founder, Ken Brown has more generously described it as “a very poorly composed list”. – Gil Latimer, SVCG (Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group)

P.S. The city did get back to us on this and promised to do a better job at keeping us informed…

Letter to the Editor

Mar 9, 2018 — A response to ‘Pipe Dreams’ article
Posted on March 7, 2018 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Thanks to Jonah Raskin for his article, “Pipe dreams: Will Sonoma miss out on the marijuana boom?”, (Feb. 23) (http://sonomasun.com/2018/02/23/pipe-dreams-will-sonoma-miss-out-on-the-marijuana-boom/).

However, I would like to put a finer point on a couple of items.

I am a former member of the Sonoma County Growers Alliance and currently belong to the local chapter of the California Cannabis Industry Association. I formed the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group to help former mayor Ken Brown and the city of Sonoma realize a permitted medicinal dispensary within the city limits. SVCG currently has 189 members and continues to grow.

That Sonoma could be home to a $50 million-dollar-a-year business may be a bit overblown. Based on figures supplied by California’s Board of Equalization, in 2016 each marijuana dispensary license brought in an average of $562,093, gross. That still represents a substantial amount of tax revenue for the city.

As far as wine and cannabis getting along, both are realizing that they can exist to mutual benefit. The “Wine and Weed Symposium”, held in Santa Rosa this past August, served as an ice-breaker for the two industries. Both understand that they share common opportunities ranging from designating appellations to courting tourists. I very much doubt recreational cannabis will have any real impact on wine sales.

It is the case that there is some backbiting within the cannabis industry, but what industry doesn’t include that?

Regarding quotes attributed to me, just to straighten the record a little more, Ken Brown recused himself from city council discussions around a dispensary six years ago based on bad advice from an attorney.

The only defense I have for the city of Sonoma and this issue is that Sonoma has no choice but to go through the same ordinance process every other city has. Otherwise, up to this point, it has done no good service for its residents, especially patients.

As far as Mr. Early’s complaint that he doesn’t seem to be trusted is concerned, perhaps there are reasons for that, perhaps not. But, the standards for permitting any cannabis business within the city of Sonoma will be very stringent. There will soon be other interested parties and he will have to get in line with everyone else.

– Gil Latimer, Sonoma