Sonoma City Council Moves Forward on Cannabis Ordinance


At its meeting last Monday, April 15, the City Council moved to address some loose ends of its proposed cannabis ordinance. There were a number of items to finalize, including buffer zones, the types of licenses (businesses) the city is open to, many details regarding the selection process, some ideas on how to manage the possible 2020 ballot measure, and discussion of the makeup of the Proposal Review Committee to review business applications.

The types of businesses may likely include two dispensaries, one brick and mortar, the other a non-storefront delivey service, and one edible manufacturer (or 1 packaging/labeling facility) and one testing lab.

You can see the City Council in action at

Discussion begins at 55:30 – 2:15:00

Next step: The written ordinance will be reviewed by the Planning Commission and its own recommendations will be forwarded to the City Council. The Planning Commission meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 9.

The City Council will then review those recommendations and there could be a first reading of a comprehensive cannabis ordinance at the council’s June 3 meeting. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on any changes.

We’d like to thank Mayor Amy Harrington, Vice-Mayor Logan Harvey, Councilwoman Rachel E Hundley, Councilman David Cook, the City Manager, Planning Director and City Attorney for managing this very heavy lift!

So, as we stated before, the ball is rolling on this ordinance faster and faster. We ask those who care about safe, local access to medicinal  cannabis (adult rec, too) to please come to these upcoming meetings. If you can’t come to a meeting, you can send an email to the City Council and Planning Commission to show your support!

City Council:

Planning Commission:


Gil Latimer,

Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

Sonoma Planning Commission Appears Muddled, Important Upcoming City Council Meeting

city council audience

Hello All,

The Sonoma Planning Commission held its first public hearing on a cannabis ordinance last night (the second is scheduled for May 9).

Though it understands how to administer zoning laws and ordinances, some commission members displayed a lack of knowledge of cannabis and the types of businesses attached to it.

Some also expressed exasperation that this process was initiated by the City Council, rather than the commission. At one point the commission’s chair firmly pointed out that “this is how government works” and that the commission would get a crack at changing/adding/subtracting items when the ordinance comes back to them from the Council.

The Sonoma City Council has a much firmer grasp of the issue. It seems that if the Planning Commission was left to initiate an ordinance, there might never be any cannabis business in the city.

Meanwhile, the City Council will hold its second study session on the issue at its April 15 meeting (Monday, 6 pm, 177 First St West). You can see the Agenda and the Report PDF here:

The Council will consider possible adjustments to the buffer maps and an outline of the merit-based application process. A draft ordinance will be drawn up and presented to the Planning Commission on May 9 for its own review/changes/recommendations. After that come the first and second readings of the ordinance in June.

So, the ball is rolling on this ordinance faster and faster. We *strongly* encourage anyone who cares about safe, local access to medicinal  cannabis (adult rec, too) to please come to these upcoming meetings. If you can’t come to a meeting, send an email to the City Council and Planning Commission to show your support!

City Council:

Planning Commission:


Gil Latimer,

Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

Sonoma Planning Commission to Hold Hearings on Cannabis Businesses

Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group logo

Sorry about the short notice, but we were not notified until this afternoon. The Sonoma (City) Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday, April 11 (tomorrow) regarding how the city should approach regulating cannabis businesses. The public hearing will take place in 2 parts, the second will occur on May 9. Both will be held at the City Council Chambers, 177 First Street West, starting at 6:30 PM.

You can see the Agenda here:

The Planning Commission Staff recommends the following procedure for this hearing:

Open the Public Hearing, receive public testimony, and continue Hearing to Planning Commission meeting on May 9, 2019.

Recommended Hearing Process:

1.Open Public Hearing
2.Receive staff report and Power-point Presentation by HdL. (This should be the same one that was presented to the City Council last month)
3.Questions from the Planning Commission.
4.Public Testimony.
5.Additional Commission Deliberation
6.Continue public hearing to May 9, 2019.

So, the process continues and once the Planning Commission has given its input, there could be a first reading of the ordinance on June 3, 2019, and a second reading on June 10, 2019. We encourage you to please come to these meetings to show your support!

SVCG has also sent an email to the Planning Commission urging its support:

To: Sonoma Planning Commission and Staff:

On behalf of the 200 members of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group and the residents of Sonoma and its surrounding communities who support medical and personal access to cannabis, we thank the Planning Commission for moving forward on this issue.

As of April 9, 2019, the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group’s petition for a cannabis dispensary with delivery service has garnered 417 signatures. The petition text can be seen at

Comments were submitted by nearly 50 of those petition signers and they can be seen here:

The City Council also received well over 40 emails from Sonoma area citizens who support a local dispensary and we provided a copy of those emails to the Planning Commission in our email to it on 9/11/18.

In light of the above, we ask the Planning Commission to support the City Council’s proposed regulations to allow certain commercial cannabis businesses within the City.

As always, the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group is ready and willing to answer any questions you may have.


Gil Latimer

Ken Brown

and the members of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

Hope to see you at the meeting and Thanks!

Sonoma Moves Forward on Cannabis Ordinance

The good news continues and we’ll let the City of Sonoma’s posting fill you in:

City Council Gives Direction on Commercial Cannabis Ordinance

Posted on March 8, 2019

At their meeting of March 4, 2019, Sonoma City Council held a Cannabis Study Session to review, discuss, and provide direction on local regulation of Commercial Cannabis activities. You can read the staff report and watch a recording of the Commercial Cannabis Study Session on our CivicWeb portal (Study Session begins at 1:07:46).

Following a presentation by David McPherson with HdL Companies, the Council provided the following direction on five types of Commercial Cannabis activities: Retail Dispensaries; Cultivation; Manufacturer; Distributor; and Testing Labs. In addition, the Council provided direction on zoning and the number of permits available for each type of activity.


RETAIL DISPENSARIES: Two (2) Total: one (1) storefront, and one (1) non-storefront. Council directed to allow two cannabis dispensaries within the City. One to allow retail sales in a “storefront” facility which is open to the public during regular business hours and the second to be a “non-storefront” dispensary that would only allow sales to customers exclusively through delivery and not be open to the public/retail traffic.

CULTIVATION: None. No cultivation of commercial cannabis to be allowed in the city limits.

MANUFACTURER: One (1) Type N (for infusions) and/or Type P (for packaging and labeling only). One non-volatile manufacturing cannabis business that would be focused on food or topical health-related products.

TESTING: One (1). One testing cannabis facility.

DISTRIBUTION: For Transport Only. Distribution will only be allowed for transportation of a business’ own product, not for general distribution.


The City Council gave direction on areas to not allow commercial cannabis by establishing “buffer zones” and by directing appropriate zoning areas. The ordinance will include provisions for state-mandated buffers of 600 feet around public and private schools (K-12). Shopping centers and some smaller retail locations would be exempt from these 600 feet buffer zones. Other locally sensitive locations to be excluded include the Sonoma Valley Little League fields on First Street East and the Plaza. Specifically, the Council directed that no commercial cannabis would be allowed within the Plaza Retail Overlay District.

The Storefront will be able to locate in Commercial zones with a Use Permit issued by the Planning Commission. The Non-Storefront Dispensary, Manufacturer, and Testing Lab will be allowed in either the Commercial or Mixed-Use zone outside of buffer areas with a Use Permit approved by the Planning Commission.


April – June 2019, Regulatory Ordinance & Land Use Ordinance Development

June – July 2019, Design Application Process and Cost Recovery Fees

August – September 2019, Application Reviews, Backgrounds and Applicant Interviews

November 2019, Present Staff Report Recommendations to City Council

November – December 2019, Award Issuance of Regulatory Permit Pending CUP approval or Operational Agreement

Please note, until this regulatory ordinance for Commercial Cannabis is developed, all commercial cannabis activities are currently prohibited in the city of Sonoma, except for deliveries of medical cannabis from dispensaries located outside of city limits. See a list of licensed delivery companies and learn more about currently allowable activities on the City’s Cannabis Regulation page.

Video of Sonoma City Council Meeting, Feb 20, 2019

time line for Sonoma Cannabis ordinance development


You can click through here to see Wednesday night’s city council meeting video.

The item’s discussion starts at 44:00 and ends at 1:37:15

Public Comment begins at 52:05

A managing partner of the property on W. Napa St., formerly known as the Wine Annex, lobbied for consideration as a dispensary site. This is also the site to which John Early has been associated. He was present but did not speak.

Two members of Teamsters Local 665 also spoke regarding fair pay and unionization.

The always thoughtful Fred Allebach, whom many of us know, added a much-needed moment of humor, breaking up the room. Good stuff!

I took the liberty of speaking for SVCG. Perhaps it was no longer necessary to make the point, but it seemed that, on this night, it would be good for us to put something on the record.