Sonoma Valley Cannabis GroupFor responsible health care policy
To all SVCG members and everyone on our mailing list:
Congratulations! We did it. The two cannabis ordinances were finally passed in June of 2019 on a 3-2 to vote. See our newest posts, for the latest news on the process.
This campaign was never about making it easier for “stoners to get their weed”, as many of the opposition would like to think. It was always about the patients. Always. Now, the essential services that dispensaries can provide will become readily available within our own community. Once a dispensary opens its doors, those being treated for medical problems will no longer have to make a 2+ hour round trip drive to obtain safe, legal access to medicinal cannabis. For our seniors and the disabled who may not have vehicles or are on fixed incomes, local access will make their lives less stressful and difficult. In turn, the city will benefit from new jobs, an additional source of tax revenue and be able to take pride in furthering a progressive vision that improves the quality of its residents’ lives.
Thanks to everyone in this group and on our mailing list for their support, for signing the petition, for writing the letters and contributing to the discussions.
Thanks to Ken Brown and Jewel Mathieson for their years of advocacy for patients’ access to safe, legal medical cannabis. Their goal has finally been realized.
And thanks to our City Council allies Councilwoman Rachel E Hundley, Councilwoman Amy Harrington and Mayor Logan Harvey for leaning forward on so many fronts to help define Sonoma as a city of progressive values and a pacesetter in Sonoma County.
In the meantime, the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group will continue to keep you all informed on new regulations, application development, a cannabis tax measure and the possible ramifications of a separate dispensary ballot initiative in 2020.
Commentary: On Cannabis, Competition Equals Compassion
The business of cannabis continues to be an issue in Sonoma. It shouldn’t be. After nearly five years of hard work by patients, advocates and the City Council, Sonoma now has an ordinance that permits two dispensary storefronts. However, in keeping with the issue’s history of being kicked down a rocky road, the process for permitting a second dispensary appears to be stalled by a mix of incredulity and less informed experiences of some local officials.
Sonoma City Council Opens Door to Walk-in Dispensary
Gil Latimer, who said he was speaking for Justice Grown applicants Ken Brown and his late wife Jewel Mathieson and “over 200 members of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group,” a local collective of cannabis advocates, argued that a second dispensary “was in the best interest” of medical patients, adult consumers and the city, through increased tax revenue and cannabis tourism.
“Permitting only one walk-in dispensary limits residents’ ability to take advantage of a fair, more competitive environment. Our patient community especially needs access to the widest choice of products possible to ensure they get what they need. Competition is a health part of any industry,” said Latimer. “That’s what the free market is all about, isn’t it?”
Council eyes allowing second dispensary
“In order to permit a potential second walk-in dispensary, the city needs to modify the city municipal code to allow for it, then establish an application process to receive proposals from eligible cannabis businesses.
As outlined by city staff, the application, rankings, interview process and criteria would largely be the same if a second dispensary were allowed —including a “community benefits” requirement, such as “employment for residents of the city, community contributions, and/or economic incentives to the city.””
Our Comment beneath the article:
“There has to be a better way than go through the entire process all over again. The first RFP was opened on January 3, 2020, over 1 year ago. The start date for the first dispensary remains unknown. That we could go through the entirety of this laborious and time-consuming procedure all over again is a head-shaker. Please, there are ways to adapt the earlier process in order to approve a retail business in a more timely manner.
Valley Forum: Sonoma would support second dispensary
First, thanks to former Sonoma Mayor Ken Brown and his late wife Jewel Mathieson for their years of advocacy for patients’ rights to safe, legal medical cannabis. They were the inspiration to form our 200-plus member Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group over three years ago. Since then, we have actively engaged the community and city government to help bring a cannabis dispensary to Sonoma.
Now that the mission has been realized, we also thank the Sonoma City Council for leaning forward on this issue. They’ve helped define Sonoma as a city of progressive values and a pacesetter in Sonoma County.
Recently, some council members expressed support to permit one additional walk-in dispensary with delivery service. We agree, and believe there are a number of reasons why this would be in the best interest of medical patients, adult consumers and the city.
Letters to the Editor: Let’s talk dispensaries
December 11, 2020 – Ken Brown: I am very unhappy with the current state of affairs within the Cannabis community and local government.
Letter to the Editor: Re-ignite dispensary process
November 12, 2020 – Readers weigh in on POTUS 45, UGB, cannabis and onsite learning
Cannabis initiative finally comes to voters
September 28, 2020 – Measure Y on the ballot after 2-year delay by City Council.
Sonoma names first (and only) license for retail cannabis
Sonoma Valley Sun
August 18, 2020 – The City of Sonoma has awarded its exclusive cannabis retail license to SPARC.
Jewel Mathieson: Fearless Activist
August 12, 2020 – She called herself “a breast cancer survivor, dancer, award-winning storyteller and poetry slam champion.”
Jewel Mathieson, poet and cannabis advocate, dies at 62
August 10, 2020 – Outspoken cancer survivor succumbs to the disease
Letters to the Editor: Dispensing with pleasantries
Sonoma’s city council picks 2 to present dispensary plans in August
June 11, 2020 – Two companies with strong Sonoma County ties, Justice Grown and SPARC, were selected to finalize their proposal for a cannabis dispensary in the city.
Letters to the Editor: Supports cannabis dispensary
June 5, 2020 – The Sonoma City Council is coming up to its final stages to consider the issue of a license for a cannabis dispensary.
Council to review 5 dispensary ‘finalists’
City of Sonoma’s cannabis license process on track
April 16, 2020 – City on track to issue permits in August; dispensary may open by end of year.
SV Cannabis Group responds to Sun pot editorial
Sonoma Valley Sun
May 28, 2019 – Gil Latimer, of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group, responds to The Sun editorial ‘Haven’t you heard? The war on pot is over.”
Sonoma City Council OK with 2 dispensaries
March 7, 2019 – Three-member majority leans toward 1 walk-in, 1 delivery-only
Sonoma City Council moves on pot dispensaries
February 21, 2019 – Cook lone holdout as council allocates funds for cannabis consultants in first steps toward commercial sales.
Cannabis deliveries to City of Sonoma still limited to medical patients
December 24, 2018 – A new cannabis dispensary will start delivery service Jan. 1, giving Sonoma patients two sources for their medicine.
Sonoma OK’s cannabis grows
October 1, 2018 – Call it a “spliff” decision. The Sonoma City Council last week struggled to reconcile competing elements in a proposed ordinance to regulate cannabis cultivation and cannabis sales in the city, so city officials on Sept. 24 split the issue into two parts – and narrowly approved limited personal cultivation of cannabis both indoors and out.
Letters to the Editor, Aug. 21 – 23
August 20, 2018 – A response to criticisms, and a plea for mountain lions
Letters to the Editor: Dispensaries are inevitable
August 13, 2018 – The Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group (SVCG) strongly condemns the malicious behavior of Jon Early toward Sonoma City Councilman David Cook (‘Bullseye Email Raises Alarm at City Hall,’ Aug. 7). We cannot stress more firmly that any level of threats or harassment of public officials or citizens is not only out of line, but ultimately counter-productive.
Jason Walsh: Sonoma cannabis initiative up in smoke
August 6, 2018 – COMMENT: Thank you, Jason Walsh, for a stinging editorial. We agree, the council majority’s goal for requiring yet another study isn’t about information gathering, it’s to block a local dispensary. – at no expense, by the way, there goes another $25,000 down a rabbit hole of their own making… – Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group
Lost in the weeds?
Sonoma Valley Sun
July 6, 2018 – Curiously, neither Ken Brown, the former city councilmember, nor his wife Jewel Mathieson signed the pro-pot petition.
Letters to the Editor, Cannabis decision ‘shameful and embarrassing’
June 14, 2018 – Readers weigh in on Bear Flag re-enactment, Plaza art and council’s vote on cannabis dispensaries
Sonoma City Council: Back yard cannabis OK, dispensary no way
May 31, 2018 – City officials at crosswinds over ‘stinky weed’ in Wednesday special session.
Cannabis users lobby Sonoma to ‘grow their own’
May 28, 2018 – Council to vote Wednesday on whether to ban outdoor cultivation
Sonoma’s city council sticks with indoors-only, six-plant maximum for personal cannabis cultivation
April 17, 2018 – The City Council voted Monday to keep the current restrictions on personal cannabis gardens, despite public complaint.
A response to ‘Pipe Dreams’ article
Sonoma Valley Sun
March 7, 2018 – It is the case that there is some backbiting within the cannabis industry, but what industry doesn’t include that?
Pipe dreams: Will Sonoma miss out on the marijuana boom?
Sonoma Valley Sun
February 23, 2018 – Sonoma cannabis activist Gil Latimer calls himself a realist and a skeptic. For the most part, he defends Sonoma when it comes to marijuana, though he has some gripes.
Sonoma holding breath on cannabis
December 28, 2017 – Gil Latimer, of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group, encourages the community to make its position on the issue known to the Council.
Cannabis forum at Sonoma’s Vintage House
October 2, 2017 – The forum is sponsored and hosted by Jewel Mathieson of Sonoma, a breast cancer survivor and cannabis activist with Sonoma Patient Group, the oldest dispensary serving Sonoma County.
Jason Walsh: Has Sonoma come around on medical pot?
September 14, 2017 – Former city council member Ken Brown asked city officials to keep those patients ‘in the front of your mind.’ ‘(There’s been) a lot of statistics and a lot of talking,’ said Brown. ‘But there are patients in Sonoma who are terminal and need service now. Not six months from now, not when you get it all nailed down.’
Jason Walsh: Will Sonoma bogart legal cannabis?
September 4, 2017 – In past, City has been reluctant to embrace shifting winds
Sonoma to get rolling on cannabis
August 31, 2017 – Council schedules Sept. 11 session to discuss regulations
Ken Brown’s new crusade
Sonoma Valley Sun
July 6, 2017 – Former Sonoma City Councilmember Ken Brown is on the march. You may have seen him in the Fourth of July Parade – for a medicinal cannabis facility within the City limits.
Ken Brown: support legal medicinal cannabis facility in Sonoma
Sonoma Valley Sun
July 2, 2017 – Hey neighbors! Join with myself, Richard Silver and Earl Blue for it is time for a Legal Medicinal Cannabis Facility in the City of Sonoma.