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.
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…
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…
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…
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…
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