Letter to the Sonoma City Council: Let’s create a reasonable and informed policy

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This letter was presented in person by Ken Brown and Jewel Mathieson to the City Manager this past Tuesday. I’ll be sending it to all council members and staff via email on Monday and Ken will present hard copies of same at the Dec 4 City Council meeting.

November 21, 2017

From: Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

To: Sonoma City Council

Members of the Sonoma City Council,

Hello, my name is Gil Latimer and I represent the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group, a local grassroots advocacy organization. SVCG’s mission is to educate our community about the opportunities and challenges of integrating compliant cannabis businesses into the fabric of Sonoma and to encourage responsible, common sense policies that benefit public safety, the economy and the environment. SVCG thanks the Sonoma City Council for its willingness to open discussion about the implementation of the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA).

SVCG recognizes that the recently enacted MAUCRSA (SB-94) poses implementation challenges for localities. Because the state will begin issuing licenses on January 2, 2018, it has been advised that cities should proceed with their ordinances now, and not delay that process. This will preclude the state from unilaterally issuing a license for a business in those jurisdictions.

SVCG also recognizes that the City of Sonoma has not considered a comprehensive cannabis policy as one of its top goals and has been slow to enact a complete ordinance. Due to the desire to retain local control, the impending expiration of its moratoria, and concurrent drain on city resources by the recent valley fires, the city elected to extend its current moratoria on cannabis for an additional 12 months.

It is important for the City to recognize that the majority of its citizens voted in favor of Prop 64 and now feel thwarted by the seemingly unending process for implementing the voters’ will. It should be noted that certain members of the city council also share this frustration. Furthermore, lack of regulations and guidelines from elected officials will only continue to hinder safe patient access to the prescribed medicine that they require.

In order to create a reasonable and informed policy that facilitates the city’s implementation of MAUCRSA, SVCG recommends that the city:

1) Make a comprehensive cannabis ordinance a top goal in 2018.

2) Create a four month timeline that includes at least 3 more substantive public workshops to insure all stakeholders have an opportunity for input throughout the process.

SVCG looks forward to adding our insights and resources to the discussion, collaborating with stakeholders and helping the entire community through this transition. We ask the City of Sonoma to look at the entire landscape and continue discussion in ways that will provide its citizens with the fair, reasonable policy solutions it deserves.

Sincerely,

Ken Brown Bear Flag Social Club

Jewel Mathieson Sonoma Patient Group

Gil Latimer Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

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