What if?

What if?

Let’s say Sonoma only allowed one grocery store and you were forced to choose between shopping at the very expensive Sonoma Market or driving to Napa or Santa Rosa for cheaper products, or for items not available at the local market. Would this be acceptable to you?

What if the only pharmacy permitted was the CVS at the Marketplace Shopping Center and it didn’t carry the particular brand of OTC medication that works for you? And the next closest CVS was on Kenilworth Drive in Petaluma.

Now, those scenarios may be a bit far-fetched, but they illustrate how limited your selections for the best products, prices and services are as long as the city restricts your freedom of choice.

Sonoma’s ordinance permits two dispensaries. Why do we only have access to one?

Or let’s try another scenario. Your town only permits one wine store and maybe it doesn’t carry your favorite Cab or Sauvignon Blanc. You’d like to have a second shop nearby in town, but local government insists it shouldn’t be an issue because one or 2 more shops will eventually open outside of town. Unfortunately, either or both would necessitate a 40-minute round trip to those locations.

Besides the fact that either location requires more time and gas (and emissions) to visit than would a second shop right in town, you discover that both locations must satisfy about 80 conditions for approval before the county allows them to open – and you’re told that those conditions have yet to be met and it would be impossible to put a time line on when ground might be broken, let alone doors finally opening for business.

As a consumer, how would you feel about this?

Sonoma and Local Control: Strengthens illicit market, keeps prices high

Sonoma and Local Control: Strengthens illicit market, keeps prices high

“The second fatal flaw is local control, or the requirement that cannabis businesses receive permits from both the local jurisdiction and the state. That sounds reasonable. But in practice, it’s led to cannabis retail bans in much of the state.

By allowing municipalities to opt-out of legalization, the state has essentially ceded two-thirds of the market to criminals.
Cannabis is one of California’s great heritage industries, along with wine, technology and entertainment – industries we’ve nurtured and fostered with supportive legislation and regulation.
By right, we should have a robust cannabis market that’s poised to dominate in a post-legalization world. But achieving that will require immediate changes to ensure legal cannabis is more accessible and less expensive for consumers.”

Not only is Sonoma city government supporting protectionism, so are many in the local industry, who talk a good game, but when it comes to standing up for what’s right, choose to remain silent.


Healdsburg will host two retail dispensaries.

Healdsburg will host two retail dispensaries.

In protecting a city-sponsored monopoly, Sonoma refuses to begin the process for its second dispensary.
Healdsburg and Sonoma each have a population of 11,000.

Their “Greater Trade Areas” both account for populations of 40,000-50,000.
The nearest dispensaries outside of the city limits of both are comparable in time+distance.
Both Healdsburg and Sonoma contracted with HdL. HdL advised the city of Sonoma that it could likely support two dispensaries.

Why would a city council choose to ignore the expert opinion of its own consultant and reduce by half the additional options a second dispensary would provide its constituents?

“multistep process that nonetheless is expected to attract 10 or more applicants.”
I’m not sure on what info Healdsburg bases its expectations, perhaps from HdL, the consultant Sonoma employed, but if Healdsburg expects 10 applicants, you can expect much the same in Sonoma. There should be no shortage of interested parties.

Why are they doing business in Sonoma?

Why are they doing business in Sonoma?

Would like to remind that if it wasn’t for our Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group constantly lobbying the city council over five long years for all our medical patients and consumers, Erich Pearson’s sparc would never have opened for business in Sonoma. Just one example is when the council removed the first dispensary process from the Agenda due to the Hundley/Hamlin/Pearson/Jenkins scheme to derail Proposition Y, which would have allowed multiple dispensaries in the city.

Our letter to the city council at the time conferred our support for re-agendizing the process:

To: Sonoma City Council and Staff
From: Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

Madams and Sirs,
The Sonoma City Council knows well what’s currently at stake here for thousands of residents of this city and the entire Lower Valley. Failure to provide for access and wider choice should not be an option. It’s up to the council to accept its responsibility to bring this issue to conclusion. I do believe this has to weigh heavily on council members. We would like to bet that you rise to the occasion.


Gil Latimer
Ken Brown
Jewel Mathieson, in Spirit
Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

The Nature of Conscience and its Corruption

The Nature of Conscience and its Corruption

Like most industries, the cannabis trade harbors its share of pretenders and opportunists, greedy to exploit any opportunity to make a buck at the expense of vulnerable patients and consumers.

Nor is government exempt from the temptation to profit. From the halls of state capitols, to county and city council chambers, whether it’s Fall River, Mass, or Adelanto, Ca, news stories about corruption and its corrosive effects abound, serving to undermine public trust in government and the industry.

Though it may be arguable that the city of Sonoma has been guilty of some degree of corruption around money and power in its management of the dispensary issue, it has most certainly succumbed to a corruption of conscience.

Yes, Healdsburg is permitting two dispensaries.

Yes, Healdsburg is permitting two dispensaries.

Healdsburg has the same population as Sonoma,11,000+.

The city council was told years by its own consultant, HdL, that the city could sustain 2 dispensaries. So why would the city council dilute by half its potential for more revenue to Sonoma that could benefit its own citizens? It can also be argued that by setting up barriers to entry, it diminishes investment in the city.

So, it’s a mystery – or maybe it’s not. On the one hand, we’ve got the sole provider of medical cannabis defaming our group – that’s you, me, and the two hundred other members of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group- in public, live on video.

And on the other hand, one might suspect that a classic case of crony capitalism could be in play here, whereby a governing body, for a variety of reasons, some suspected, others perhaps yet unknown, interferes in the free market. The result can be a toxic combination of a corporation and government officials working together to deny patients and consumers reasonable, legal access to a market.

Healdsburg approves business tax for retail cannabis sales