Dear Mayor Lowe, Vice Mayor Gurney and Council Members,
I would like to welcome our new city council members and congratulate our new mayor.
I have been involved for the last few years in working to get a cannabis dispensary in the Sonoma Valley. In the beginning, I advocated for two dispensaries to be permitted and the consultants hired by the city, HDL, agreed. They stated that the city and the valley could easily support two. In the end one, SPARC, was permitted. But, in working very hard with the last city council, the ordinance was changed to permit a second dispensary.
I am writing, because now is the time to move forward and begin the process to issue a permit to a second dispensary applicant.
For me it is a bit personal. I use a product that has been a life saver. In the beginning SPARC, our one dispensary told me they would carry products other than what they currently do, if requested. I tried and no they will not carry my product, unless I buy it by the case. I am still driving to Santa Rosa. But, beyond the personal, there are so many benefits to having a second dispensary in Sonoma. Looking at SPARC’s numbers they have been incredibly successful financially, and the city is benefiting from the taxes and economic benefits they provide. The city will benefit and the community will benefit greatly by moving forward with permitting a second dispensary.
Economic theory demonstrates that when firms have to compete for customers, it leads to lower prices, higher quality goods and services, greater variety, and more innovation. Competition thus stimulates growth and generates substantial benefits for the community.
While the cannabis industry is a challenging one for all operators across the supply chain (cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, etc.), retailers with strong business acumen are running profitable operations and will continue to do so.
The economic pie is growing. It is safe to assume that an additional dispensary would create an increase in revenue for Sonoma, as it would be impossible for one dispensary to capture 100% of the market. Additionally, the market is seeing year-over-year growth, so it’s definitely not a zero-sum game. Well-run dispensaries continue to experience growth despite an increase in competition.
According to local industry experts, there would be a number of applicants for a second dispensary permit. Typically, limited license jurisdictions like Sonoma are receiving significant interest in demand for licenses if/when they become available. There are many examples across the state for this (i.e. Cotati, Sausalito, Healdsburg, Concord, Fairfield, etc.).
The increased demand for cannabis solutions requires greater accessibility to a variety of products. However, not all dispensaries carry all products and limiting ready, local access to medication impedes individuals from obtaining the necessary provisions for their health and well-being. In the case of SPARC, they are vertically integrated, with an emphasis on selling the products they grow and manufacture. We really need product choice, and responsiveness to consumer’s needs.
Please agendize moving forward on putting out at RFP for another dispensary. It will be a great benefit to the community and to the city.