Sonoma City Council Moves Forward on Cannabis Ordinance

 

At its meeting last Monday, April 15, the City Council moved to address some loose ends of its proposed cannabis ordinance. There were a number of items to finalize, including buffer zones, the types of licenses (businesses) the city is open to, many details regarding the selection process, some ideas on how to manage the possible 2020 ballot measure, and discussion of the makeup of the Proposal Review Committee to review business applications.

The types of businesses may likely include two dispensaries, one brick and mortar, the other a non-storefront delivey service, and one edible manufacturer (or 1 packaging/labeling facility) and one testing lab.

You can see the City Council in action at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUgOd2FowaY

Discussion begins at 55:30 – 2:15:00

Next step: The written ordinance will be reviewed by the Planning Commission and its own recommendations will be forwarded to the City Council. The Planning Commission meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 9.

The City Council will then review those recommendations and there could be a first reading of a comprehensive cannabis ordinance at the council’s June 3 meeting. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on any changes.

We’d like to thank Mayor Amy Harrington, Vice-Mayor Logan Harvey, Councilwoman Rachel E Hundley, Councilman David Cook, the City Manager, Planning Director and City Attorney for managing this very heavy lift!

So, as we stated before, the ball is rolling on this ordinance faster and faster. We ask those who care about safe, local access to medicinal  cannabis (adult rec, too) to please come to these upcoming meetings. If you can’t come to a meeting, you can send an email to the City Council and Planning Commission to show your support!

City Council: citycouncil@sonomacity.org

Planning Commission: planning@sonomacity.org

Thanks!

Gil Latimer,

Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

Sonoma Planning Commission Appears Muddled, Important Upcoming City Council Meeting

city council audience

Hello All,

The Sonoma Planning Commission held its first public hearing on a cannabis ordinance last night (the second is scheduled for May 9).

Though it understands how to administer zoning laws and ordinances, some commission members displayed a lack of knowledge of cannabis and the types of businesses attached to it.

Some also expressed exasperation that this process was initiated by the City Council, rather than the commission. At one point the commission’s chair firmly pointed out that “this is how government works” and that the commission would get a crack at changing/adding/subtracting items when the ordinance comes back to them from the Council.

The Sonoma City Council has a much firmer grasp of the issue. It seems that if the Planning Commission was left to initiate an ordinance, there might never be any cannabis business in the city.

Meanwhile, the City Council will hold its second study session on the issue at its April 15 meeting (Monday, 6 pm, 177 First St West). You can see the Agenda and the Report PDF here:

https://sonomacity.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Org=Cal&Id=408

The Council will consider possible adjustments to the buffer maps and an outline of the merit-based application process. A draft ordinance will be drawn up and presented to the Planning Commission on May 9 for its own review/changes/recommendations. After that come the first and second readings of the ordinance in June.

So, the ball is rolling on this ordinance faster and faster. We *strongly* encourage anyone who cares about safe, local access to medicinal  cannabis (adult rec, too) to please come to these upcoming meetings. If you can’t come to a meeting, send an email to the City Council and Planning Commission to show your support!

City Council: citycouncil@sonomacity.org

Planning Commission: planning@sonomacity.org

Thanks!

Gil Latimer,

Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/sonomavalleycannabizgroup/


Sonoma Planning Commission to Hold Hearings on Cannabis Businesses

Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group logo

Sorry about the short notice, but we were not notified until this afternoon. The Sonoma (City) Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday, April 11 (tomorrow) regarding how the city should approach regulating cannabis businesses. The public hearing will take place in 2 parts, the second will occur on May 9. Both will be held at the City Council Chambers, 177 First Street West, starting at 6:30 PM.

You can see the Agenda here: https://sonomacity.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Id=416.

The Planning Commission Staff recommends the following procedure for this hearing:

Open the Public Hearing, receive public testimony, and continue Hearing to Planning Commission meeting on May 9, 2019.

Recommended Hearing Process:

1.Open Public Hearing
2.Receive staff report and Power-point Presentation by HdL. (This should be the same one that was presented to the City Council last month)
3.Questions from the Planning Commission.
4.Public Testimony.
5.Additional Commission Deliberation
6.Continue public hearing to May 9, 2019.

So, the process continues and once the Planning Commission has given its input, there could be a first reading of the ordinance on June 3, 2019, and a second reading on June 10, 2019. We encourage you to please come to these meetings to show your support!

SVCG has also sent an email to the Planning Commission urging its support:

To: Sonoma Planning Commission and Staff:

On behalf of the 200 members of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group and the residents of Sonoma and its surrounding communities who support medical and personal access to cannabis, we thank the Planning Commission for moving forward on this issue.

As of April 9, 2019, the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group’s petition for a cannabis dispensary with delivery service has garnered 417 signatures. The petition text can be seen at

https://www.change.org/p/sonoma-valley-cannabis-group-establish-a-medicinal-cannabis-dispensary-with-delivery-in-the-city-of-sonoma-ca

Comments were submitted by nearly 50 of those petition signers and they can be seen here:

http://www.sonomavalleycannabisgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/petition_letter_and_comments_for_dispensary_9-9-18.pdf

The City Council also received well over 40 emails from Sonoma area citizens who support a local dispensary and we provided a copy of those emails to the Planning Commission in our email to it on 9/11/18.

In light of the above, we ask the Planning Commission to support the City Council’s proposed regulations to allow certain commercial cannabis businesses within the City.

As always, the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group is ready and willing to answer any questions you may have.

Sincerely,

Gil Latimer

Ken Brown

and the members of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group
————————————————————–

Hope to see you at the meeting and Thanks!