Rather fail with Honor than succeed by fraud – Sophocles

Erich Pearson, CEO of sparc, currently operates 5 cannabis dispensaries in Sonoma County and San Francisco. His dispensary in the city of Sonoma has been open for one year and enjoys the enviable position as the one and only cannabis retail shop within a 15 mile radius. It is, at the very least, a one hour round trip drive to any of his competitors.

In order to maintain this retail stronghold, Mr. Pearson has employed numerous questionable tactics, but the charge he lodged against us in public to the Sonoma City Council, strikes a new low.

1. Our Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group is a 200+ member independent, informal advocacy group. SVCG is not, nor has it ever been, affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with any other company, agency or government agency. We view any charge to the contrary as defamation of character, resulting in a negative reflection on our reputation.

2. We assume Mr. Pearson refers to Justice Grown, one of the business entities with which it competed for Sonoma’s first dispensary permit. SVCG has never been a “part of” Justice Grown. To our knowledge, that applicant no longer had an interest in opening a retail store in Sonoma after the Sonoma City Council’s decision to award the sole Conditional Certificate to sparc on August 17, 2020.

3. Furthermore, to our knowledge, no members of SVCG have allied themselves with any out-of-town operator who lives in San Francisco.

4. SVCG has never received any funding from any outside source.

5. Our mission has been to assist the city of Sonoma shape compassionate cannabis policy and to keep our members informed of developments that bear on their needs. SVCG finds Mr. Pearson’s accusation that our group is something more than an unfunded, small town, grass-roots advocacy group to be insulting, deceitful and completely devoid of truth.

Under circumstances such as this, a public retraction and apology would be an appropriate remedy.

Gil Latimer

Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

We’re doing the best we can, but…

We’re doing the best we can, but…

Two of us spoke to the Sonoma City Council two nights ago. As was pointed out to me earlier, only council member Ron Wellander was involved in the 1st dispensary and then as a Planning Commissioner, not a council member, while we, collectively, followed and participated in all of the past meetings for the 1st dispensary. We thought we should remind this new council that the 200 members of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group have been here since Day 1. Perhaps reminding them of this may garner more respect for our comments going forward. My comment:

“We’d like to thank you for putting the RFP for the second dispensary on the April 19 agenda. We look forward to the discussion.

We’ll only add that our group has spent nearly six years, now, working toward reasonable access for everyone who lives in Sonoma and the Valley. We have a couple of hundred members and they include medical patients, adult consumers, attorneys and local industry professionals. We can be considered subject matter experts. We know you have an excellent staff on which you can rely for important information, but we’d also like to let you know that we are always available if you have any questions on the topic, so please feel free to reach out to us any time.”

We need your help. We can see a finish line, but if we stumble, we won’t cross it. Please write an email, long or short, to the city council in support of releasing the RFP for the second dispensary: citycouncil@sonomacity.org.😀