Sonoma Cannabis Dispensary Update

cannabis business permit timeline

To all SVCG members and supporters:

As you may know, some months ago Sonoma adopted its cannabis ordinances which allow 1 walk-in with delivery and one non-storefront delivery service. It will also permit one testing lab and one manufacturer, perhaps next year.

In January, the city posted an RFP calling for dispensary applicants, to which perhaps as many as ten parties responded by the February 21 closing date. Those applications are now in the hands of HdL, the consultant hired by the city to assist it in this process. HdL will employ a merit-based scoring system to help determine which applicants are best qualified, then pass them along to the Process Review Committee for another round of scoring. The PRC consists of the Planning Director, the City’s cannabis consultant, a representative from the County of Sonoma or the Economic Development Board, and the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce.

After the PRC completes its scoring, it will present the top 5 applicants to the city council for a decision on who best qualifies to move forward in the process. With any luck, there could be at least one dispensary open for business in Sonoma come the Fall of this year:

March – Consultant ranking

April – Proposal Review Committee ranking

May – City Council selects most qualified candidates

June-August – Permit process/ site reviews, etc.

There is, however, one caveat. This is actually is a pretty aggressive timeline and its largely due to an overly-permissive initiative that qualified for the 2020 ballot. That initiative would take control of the process away from the city and there would be no selection process, or even a requirement for a use permit. The council hopes that if we have one or two dispensaries already in place through a reasonable process, that initiative could be withdrawn before the 2020 election.

This issue will likely heat up through this spring and summer, so stay tuned!

As always, we appreciate your support and we will continue to update you on the latest developments.

Best Regards,

Gil Latimer

Ken Brown

Jewel Mathieson

Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

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