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:

“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:,_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.


Gil Latimer

Ken Brown

and the members of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group