We asked Interim City Manager Mark Linder when he thought the RFP/second dispensary issue would be put on a future City Council Agenda. This is his reply:
“Right now, April 3 is the date Council will be acting on an RFP for a second cannabis provider in Sonoma. It is April 3 because April 5 is Passover.”
This could be promising news. Though “Right now,” leaves wiggle room, if one gives benefit of the doubt, public discussion may finally be in the offing. But after 5 long years of advocacy, “caution” remains the word of the day.
The eventual discussion could be complicated by sudden reservations or considerations within the council. We should be prepared.
In the meantime, think positive.
“I know you’re close. You’ve just got to cross the river, that’s all…” – Ken Brown, Former Mayor of Sonoma
We don’t know how many times, and in how many ways, we need to impress on the Sonoma City Council that it’s time to issue the Request for Proposal for a second cannabis dispensary. But we’ll continue to do so. We’ll do it for Ken. We’ll do it for Jewel. We will not rest…
Sat in on Leslie Hennessy’s KSVY radio show, featuring wine and cannabis cultivator Mike Benziger of Glentucky Family Farms in Glen Ellen. I mentioned who SVCG is and what we’ve accomplished: the city’s first dispensary, latest news on a possible second dispensary and why competition is good for the city, patients, and adult users alike. Mike agrees, “there’s plenty of room for a second dispensary in town”. I mentioned how much the city has made in tax revenue so far, and Mike added he could see that revenue doubling with a second dispensary.
There was also talk of cannabis tourism, and the plight of the legacy small farmers, many of whom are going out of business due to over regulation/taxation.
All in all, a good show. This edited version is 13 minutes long.
The video of the City Council Priority Setting Session has finally been posted, 6 days late. Nevertheless, our comments can now be seen by the public, as well as the comments made by Vice Mayor Gurney and Council Member Farrar-Rivas that put our issue on the 5 month list of priorities. Speakers included Josette Brose-Eichar, myself, Richard Silver, Perri Ellis Paniagua and Robert Demler. The CEO of the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce, Mark Bodenhamer, also put in a good word. He served on the review committee during the first dispensary process and offered to do the same this time around.
Sorry for the poor quality video and audio, but that’s what was given to us. Here is a link to the full video of that meeting, as well. Some may find the process by which they arrived at their lists of goals interesting. 🙂
As you can see in these photos, city council members were tasked by the interim city manager to draw up a list of goals/priorities they felt should be included in a five-year, one year, and five-month plan. The goals reflect a vision of the city’s future and guide decision-making at all levels of City government.
We are happy to say that the council included issuing the RFP for a second dispensary on its list of priorities to accomplish within the next five months.
A huge thanks to Josette Brose-Eichar, Dave Eichar, Perri Ellis Paniagua, and Richard Silver for their support and leadership and speaking at this meeting. Also, thanks to Robert Demler, Executive Director of the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation, for voicing his support, and Mark Bodenhamer, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce for offering his assistance to facilitate the second dispensary process. Their voices brought additional validity to our goal.
We had front row seats directly across from council members, staff, the police and fire chiefs, etc., and one after another, down the line, we all made a case for the second dispensary. Some extra credit goes to Richard Silver for a brilliant bit of off-the-cuff oratory which I’ll always remember.
There is something more personal about sitting across the table from someone as opposed to standing at a podium talking to people on a dais. We’re all on the same level, all feet firmly grounded. I do think we made a very favorable impression. I also believe that had we not been at that meeting and spoken, we probably wouldn’t have made that five month’s goal list.
Two council members put us over the top. Former chief of police and now vice-mayor, John Gurney, put the dispensary on his five-month list, quipping, “I put this on my list because I’m tired of hearing about it.” That brought a good laugh to the room.
And as she ran down her five-month list, Councilwoman Patricia Farrar-Rivas looked at us, smiled and said, let’s issue the RFP.
We are still waiting for the video of the Goals meeting to be posted. Annual Goals meetings regard the future of the city. Citizens should always have the opportunity to review how such important decisions are made.
Nothing ever moves quickly and the devil is always in the details, but we feel very optimistic that our medical patients and consumers in Sonoma and the Valley will finally be able to take advantage of local competition. Competition will help keep prices down, result in the availability of a wider variety of products, and promote innovation in services. Stay tuned, more details to come…