Sonoma City Council opens door to second walk-in dispensary

Sonoma City Council opens door to second walk-in dispensary

After a full year of negotiating and approving a single retail cannabis dispensary for Sonoma, the city council at its Jan. 20 meeting opened the door to a second retail dispensary.

Gil Latimer, who said he was speaking for Justice Grown applicants Ken Brown and his late wife Jewel Mathieson and “over 200 members of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group,” a local collective of cannabis advocates, argued that a second dispensary “was in the best interest” of medical patients, adult consumers and the city, through increased tax revenue and cannabis tourism.

“Permitting only one walk-in dispensary limits residents’ ability to take advantage of a fair, more competitive environment. Our patient community especially needs access to the widest choice of products possible to ensure they get what they need. Competition is a health part of any industry,” said Latimer. “That’s what the free market is all about, isn’t it?”

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Our Thank You Letter to the Sonoma City Council

Our Thank You Letter to the Sonoma City Council

Hello City Council and Staff,

The entire SVCG membership and all the medical patients throughout the Sonoma Valley who depend on cannabis to help them manage their conditions would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the Sonoma City Council and Staff for their hard work in bringing safe and fair access to all our residents.

Many of you understand, either from personal experience or social observation, just how important it is to be able to find a particular product that properly matches a specific medical condition, including chronic pain, arthritis, migraine, and cancer. Each patient’s medical condition and treatment is unique to them. Some may require ingesting edible products for relief. Others may require topical lotions or salves. Still others may require specific tinctures or lozenges. And there are dosage requirements and THC to CBD ratios to consider.

No one dispensary can possibly carry all of the products that any medical patient may need. Compassion dictates that we work to adequately meet the needs of patients by ensuring they have easy, affordable access to medical cannabis.

We only mention all of the above to set the context for why it’s so important to permit an additional dispensary in a timely manner. The longer it takes to bring a second outlet into operation, the longer medical patients have no access to the options and alternatives they may require.

We also understand that the council is facing a number of important issues it would like to engage. For these reasons, we ask the city council to explore ways that it can shorten the permit process and implement it within a more reasonable timeframe. We believe council member Amy Harrington’s suggestions may be a good start point for further discussion on this issue. It may even be possible to review the three remaining applicants from the first round and make a choice.

Again, thanks so much for your time and attention.

Gil Latimer

Ken Brown and the Spirit of Jewel Mathieson

Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

Council eyes allowing second dispensary

Council eyes allowing second dispensary

“In order to permit a potential second walk-in dispensary, the city needs to modify the city municipal code to allow for it, then establish an application process to receive proposals from eligible cannabis businesses.

As outlined by city staff, the application, rankings, interview process and criteria would largely be the same if a second dispensary were allowed —including a “community benefits” requirement, such as “employment for residents of the city, community contributions, and/or economic incentives to the city.””

Our Comment  beneath the article:

“There has to be a better way than go through the entire process all over again. The first RFP was opened on January 3, 2020, over 1 year ago. The start date for the first dispensary remains unknown. That we could go through the entirety of this laborious and time-consuming procedure all over again is a head-shaker. Please, there are ways to adapt the earlier process in order to approve a retail business in a more timely manner.

Gil Latimer
Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group”

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The Sonoma City Council is potentially going to address this issue at its Jan. 20 meeting at 6 pm. We invite everyone to view and participate or send an email in support to

Contact City Council: The Benefits of Two Cannabis Dispensaries

Contact City Council: The Benefits of Two Cannabis Dispensaries

Hello Everyone. Discussion of a second dispensary is tentatively scheduled for the January 20 city council meeting. But, now might be time to start sending emails to the council in support of an additional retail store. We’re working to line up as many supporters as possible, from medical patients to recreational customers and industry operators, to call or write the city council, or comment live at that meeting.

There are two ways to email the City Council. The first way is most important, it helps the council keeps account of yeas and nays: (most important, official, email will be put in the city’s Public Comment folder) (if you like, CC’ing to this address will also route the same email to all individual council members)

Subject: In support of a second cannabis dispensary

(an obvious subject line ensures sorting into the proper folder.)

Talking Points: You can write it any way that works best for you. Personal stories always make an impression. We’ve added a list of other points you can draw from in any manner you like. You could probably come up with others. In your own words works best.

  • As a member of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group, I support an additional cannabis dispensary for the city of Sonoma. I would also ask that the process for doing this be streamlined so that patients and consumers get an opportunity for more access sooner than later.
  • I’m a medical patient who relies on specific strains that, if not in stock at one outlet, may be available at another.
  • An additional dispensary will provide even more jobs, greater tax revenue, and other community benefits.
  • Competition is a healthy part of any industry. A second dispensary will provide patients and adult consumers with more choices, better services and lower prices.
  • The population of the Greater Sonoma/Lower Valley area of 45,000 can easily sustain a second walk-in dispensary. Many who live outside the city limits would come into town to take advantage and an additional outlet could also bring new customers to neighboring businesses.
  • There are already 30 tasting rooms, give or take, on or near the Plaza. The question is, why can’t there be two dispensaries?

It’s difficult to predict how this all may turn out, but our participation can really help us reach our goal. We did it for our right to grow in our own backyards. Then we did it for safe, local access to a dispensary. Let’s do it once more for a fairer playing field that *improves* access for everyone, patients and consumers alike, here in the South Valley.

Valley Forum: Sonoma would support second dispensary

Valley Forum: Sonoma would support second dispensary

Hello everyone. This is our article/editorial, published today by the Sonoma Index-Tribune. A nod to Ken Brown, Jewel Mathieson and the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group, as well. We’ve all worked very hard and the job’s not done.

Recently, some council members expressed support to permit one additional walk-in dispensary with delivery service. We agree, and believe there are a number of reasons why this would be in the best interest of medical patients, adult consumers and the city.

Of course, there are arguments against allowing an additional dispensary in Sonoma…

The Sonoma City Council is potentially going to address this issue at its Jan. 20 meeting at 6 pm. We invite everyone to view and participate or send an email in support to

Letters to the Editor, Jan. 5: In Dank We Trust

Letters to the Editor, Jan. 5: In Dank We Trust

The following is a letter to the editor in today’s IT, In dank we trust, by Will Shobrun, – I posted a Comment, below..


EDITOR: “Back in the old days,” he said, leaning on his wizard cane, “it was called dope.”


Also referred to as smoke, pot, reefer, jay, Mary Jane and a salad of euphemisms. It was never called cannabis, as in, “Yo, bro, got any cannabis?” “Cannabis” was the invention of some doper English major who got off on Latin, and embraced by city councils all over America drooling for tax dollars.


The way to “test” marijuana, a name only used by government drug agencies, was to first smell it and then smoke it. The nose knows was the motto, well, my motto, and it’s still true, and the acid (ahem) test was to smoke the stuff. It was either really good, gooood, all right or junk. Simple, easy, scientific-ish and you’re out the door.


Now capitalism rears its coiffed head, advertising and PR geeks take over, and a perfectly natural substance to get you high is hyped and packaged up the yin-yang. Thanks to the packaging, adding 40 tons of indestructible plastic to oceans and landfills that won’t break down until the year 20,003 (rough calculation), you can’t smell it or even see it at purchase.


So as they say at the bar I hang out in, caveat emptor, which means … trust me sucker, would I lie to you?


Will Shonbrun


Sonoma Valley


Will, I agree with much of what you’ve said. As a 30-year advocate for medicinal marijuana, I never supported Prop 64. It is pseudo-legalization that has destroyed the traditional market through over-regulation and over-taxation to benefit deep-pocket players. Only legislation through Sacramento can change 64 and good luck with *that*. The other option is another statewide ballot initiative to make things right. It should be planned for 2024 (2022 is an off-year and too risky). But, it’s still a tall order.


So in the meantime, the current playing field is all we have. And our patient community *especially* needs safe, local access to marijuana, or cannabis, or whatever you want to call it. The current issue facing Sonoma is the need for a second dispensary to provide patients and adult consumers with the choices they deserve in order to better serve the 45,000 people living in the greater Sonoma area. Competition can provide folks here with easy, safe access to more product choice, better services, etc. That’s what the free market is all about, isn’t it? Everybody wins, the city, adult consumers and *especially* medical users.


What we’re asking now is that citizens send an email to the city council in support of a second dispensary and, better yet, come speak at the January city council meeting. You do not have to be a resident of the city, as this affects the entire south end of the Valley. It’s easy to keep up to date on this issue via Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group. Type that into Google or Facebook and you’ll find us for the latest information. 🙂


– Gil, Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

Happy New Year from Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group!

Happy New Year from Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group!

Hello Everyone, Happy New Year!

Let’s take that leap of faith and hope for a better one on the other side… 🙂

We continue to look forward to the January 20 city council meeting for a discussion regarding an additional dispensary, though that date remains tentative. We’ll be sure to keep you aware of the latest developments.

In the meantime, it can’t hurt to start a new year off on the right foot, so we sent the following to the city council this morning:

Happy New Year to City Council and Staff,

First, we’d like to congratulate Jack Ding on his election to the Sonoma City Council. As the first Asian American to serve on the council, we imagine Jack will bring a fresh perspective informed by his unique personal journey from Nantong, China to Sonoma.

Our congratulations also to Logan Harvey, who was chosen by the council to serve a second consecutive year as our city’s Mayor. He did a bang-up job in his first term and we expect he’ll put that new gavel to good use this term, as well.

We extend our best wishes to Vice Mayor Madolyn Agrimonti, who was just selected to serve in that chair by a 4-0 vote. The Vice Mayor could be considered sort of the “rock” of the council, having served longer than anyone else currently serving and well-known for her good humor, honesty and steadfastness.

We’re also happy to see Amy Harrington, who has previously served as Mayor, sworn in for her second term on the council. We’ve always appreciated her solid leadership and open and fair-minded consideration of issues facing Sonoma.

We would also like to welcome Sonoma’s new Interim City Manager, David Kiff, whose knowledge of and expertise in Sonoma County issues can help keep our city on track.

As we move past the trials and tribulations of the past year, we feel all of the above bodes well for the future of the city of Sonoma.

Wishing all a happy, healthy and successful New Year.