“We’re asking that this process not begin for another year so we can have a year’s worth of data on profitability to see how viable the business is and see if the city can sustain another business.”
In a stunning moment at the September 8 city council meeting, Erich Pearson, CEO of Responsible Patient Care, Inc and doing busiensss as SPARC (San Francisco Patient and Resource Center) asked the city council to table its process for a second dispensary in the city of Sonoma.
Reaction from medical patients, recreational consumers and the cannabis industry has been swift and strong. Patients argue that sparc’s scheme would limit their access to quality products and competitive pricing. Many industry professionals feel Pearson’s move places the already struggling local cannabis industry in a bad light.
It’s not enough that this flies in the face of free market enterprise (let’s see how well this coffee shop does before we allow another one). Do not be surprised that, come a year from now, Mr Pearson will report that sparc wasn’t particularly profitable and recommend the city extend his corporation’s de facto “moratorium” on cannabis business even longer. (Editor’s Update: This is exactly what occurred at the April 19, 2023 city council meeting. The release of the RFP for a second dispensary remains in limbo.)
Certainly, council members understand what it means to operate in a free market environment.
Ms. Harrington, Mr. Harvey, and Mr. Barnett and Mr. Ding all voted to permit an additional walk-in dispensary. That is the legacy of 4 and a half years of hard work by patients, consumers, advocates and the city. This has been the democratic process in action and it should be honored. We encourage the city council to fulfill that commitment and move the dispensary process forward with no unnecessary delay.