A Victory, but…

This sidebar once declared in its headline, “Success!”. And it was true at the time. After 4 long years of cajoling and discussion, the city of Sonoma had finally come to permit 2 walk-in retail cannabis dispensaries.

Unfortunately, though the first dispensary opened last spring, its owner, Erich Pearson of sparc, along with his personal lobbyist, Amy O’Gorman Jenkins, have worked with the Sonoma City Council to stop the process for a second dispensary.

Mr Pearson chose to misrepresent his financial situation to the Sonoma City Council in order to convince it to support what amounts to a city-sponsored monopoly, rather than face any competition that would provide medical patients with better prices, more product choices, and additional services.

Ms Jenkins, who runs her own lobbying firm, Precision Advocacy, and is also the Legislative Advocate for the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA), is a native to Sonoma. Her ties to the local community afford her a unique position to influence local policy. She was a contributor to the campaigns of cannabis-friendly candidates Rachel Hundley in 2018 and Sandra Lowe in 2021.

Appearances are everything. Contributions can create avenues for corruption, either grand or petty. Cronyism and favors to rig a market are unacceptable.

Thanks

We thank 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 of  local access has finally been realized.

And thanks to our past city council allies Amy Harrington and Logan Harvey for leaning forward on this issue. They helped define Sonoma as a city of progressive values in Sonoma County.

In the meantime, the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group will continue to keep you informed on all the latest developments in 2022.

 

Best Regards,

Gil Latimer

Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group

The Voice for Cannabis in Sonoma Valley since 2017

The mission of Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group (SVCG) has been to assist the city of Sonoma form a compassionate cannabis policy that will ensure safe and legal access to medicinal cannabis for the residents of Sonoma and Sonoma Valley.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

On January 20, 2021, the city council voted to amend our ordinance to permit an additional walk-in retail dispensary. The newly revised ordinance went into effect on May 19.

A second retail outlet would improve service to the 45,000 people living in the greater Sonoma area. Competition can provide folks here with easy, safe access to more product choice, better services, etc. That’s what the free market is all about, isn’t it? Everybody wins, the city, adult consumers and *especially* medical users.

However, there have been forces within the industry that are working against the second dispensary option and would prefer that the new permit process be slow-walked. You can read about it in this post.

Living in a Cannabis Desert

Living in a Cannabis Desert

All politics is local. Decisions made by city councils, mayors and commissioners have a direct and immediate impact on the lives of residents in their communities.

Per California’s DCC, 56 percent of cities and counties prohibit the licensing of all cannabis business types.

An even greater fraction, 62 percent, don’t permit retailers specifically, which would theoretically increase demand for unlicensed sales for people unwilling or unable to travel to a different part of the state for marijuana.

The city of Sonoma serves as an example of limited access. Taking the wide view, it’s difficult not to feel that we are being held hostage in the middle of a cannabis desert with only one small well.

17 dispensaries in Santa Rosa. 6 in Napa.

1 dispensary in Sonoma.

Can’t find a product at one outlet in SR? You have 16 other options.

Can’t find what you need in Sonoma?

Sonoma to Santa Rosa – 60-80 minutes round trip
Sonoma to Cotati – 60 minutes round trip
Sonoma – Napa – 50 minutes round trip

Throw in the time you spend online or on the phone, time spent in store, and don’t forget to add the price of gas, or the price of delivery charge…

Will the Sonoma City Council “get it”, or not?

Will the Sonoma City Council “get it”, or not?

During last week's council meeting, Vice Mayor Kelso Barnett acknowledged that so-called community benefits are not required for any other type of business, "…If we're trying to normalize cannabis businesses, we should treat (them) like any other business and to...

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

There are good people doing good things in this industry. In the 30+ years spent advocating for medicinal marijuana, I have been fortunate to work with many right-minded, compassionate, ethical human beings who labor very hard every day to provide relief for those...

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To Put It Simply…

To Put It Simply…

Sometimes pictures can be worth much more than words. Our infograph tells the story of why we need the dispensary process to begin ASAP. We’ll forward this to the City Council.

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