Sonoma Dispensary - Sonoma Valley Cannabis GroupFor responsible health care policy
Sonoma dispensary on track for approval:
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 provide will become readily available within our own community. Those being treated for medical problems will no longer have to make a 2+ hour round trip drive to obtain medicinal cannabis. The lives of our seniors and the disabled who may not have vehicles or are on fixed incomes will be less stressful and difficult. In turn, the city will benefit from new jobs and an additional source of tax revenue. It can also take pride in furthering a progressive vision that improves the quality of its residents’ lives.
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 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 this issue. They’ve helped 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, a cannabis tax measure and the possible ramifications of a separate dispensary ballot initiative in 2020.
Ken Brown and Jewel Mathieson, in Spirit
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 accommodate a local dispensary with delivery service to ensure safe and legal access to medicinal cannabis for the residents of Sonoma and Sonoma Valley.
The city council will discuss amending our ordinance to permit an additional walk-in retail dispensary, likely during its next scheduled meeting on January 20 (long holiday break). It’s possible there is a majority on the council who will vote for opening a second retail outlet in order to better serve 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. What we’re asking now is that citizens send an email to the city council in support of a second dispensary and, better yet, come speak at the January city council meeting. You do not have to be a resident of the city, as this affects the entire south end of the valley. You can keep up to date on this issue here or via the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group Facebook page. Thanks!
Happy New Year! Let’s take that leap of faith and hope for a better one on the other side… 🙂
We continue to look forward to the January 20 city council meeting for a discussion regarding an additional dispensary, though that date remains tentative. We’ll be sure to keep you aware of the latest developments.
In the meantime, it can’t hurt to start a new year off on the right foot, so we sent the following to the city council this morning:
Happy New Year to City Council and Staff,
First, we’d like to congratulate Jack Ding on his election to the Sonoma City Council. As the first Asian American to serve on the council, we imagine Jack will bring a fresh perspective informed by his unique personal journey from Nantong, China to Sonoma.
Our congratulations also to Logan Harvey, who was chosen by the council to serve a second consecutive year as our city’s Mayor. He did a bang-up job in his first term and we expect he’ll put that new gavel to good use this term, as well.
We extend our best wishes to Vice Mayor Madolyn Agrimonti, who was just selected to serve in that chair by a 4-0 vote. The Vice Mayor could be considered sort of the “rock” of the council, having served longer than anyone else currently serving and well-known for her good humor, honesty and steadfastness.
We’re also happy to see Amy Harrington, who has previously served as Mayor, sworn in for her second term on the council. We’ve always appreciated her solid leadership and open and fair-minded consideration of issues facing Sonoma.
We would also like to welcome Sonoma’s new Interim City Manager, David Kiff, whose knowledge of and expertise in Sonoma County issues can help keep our city on track.
As we move past the trials and tribulations of the past year, we feel all of the above bodes well for the future of the city of Sonoma.
Wishing all a happy, healthy and successful New Year,
Yes, if 2020 was a bowl, it’s time to dump it and start fresh! We hope the holidays have been good for you, all things considered, and we wish everyone a much better 2021. 🙂
As we noted in our previous email, the city council voted to award Sparc a conditional certificate, moving it one step closer to opening a dispensary in Sonoma. The Sonoma Index-Tribune’s Jason Walsh provided a very thorough review of that meeting in his December 16 article, “City Council moves forward with pot dispensary”.
Meanwhile, the city council is also about to consider permitting one additional walk-in, retail dispensary, in order to better serve the 45,000 residents of the greater Sonoma area. We support this in the knowledge that competition will result in better prices, more product choices, higher quality products and innovative services. Consumers deserve no less.
Discussion of the second dispensary is tentatively scheduled for the January 20 city council meeting. We’re hoping to line up a number of supporters (like you!), from medical patients, to recreational customers and industry operators, to call or write the city council, or comment live at that meeting.
Please look for future updates when we detail how best we can reach out to the council on this very important issue. We can guarantee you that the city council takes your input very seriously! 🙂
Again, wishing you all health and happiness, take care and stay safe!
On December 14th, the city council met to discuss awarding Sparc a Conditional Certificate to move forward in the dispensary process. Though the council voted in the affirmative, it wasn’t without drama over an alleged conflict of interest of one of the council members.
You can view the highlights here.
Total runtime about 27 minutes.
0:15 – Councilman Ding recuses himself due to the close proximity of his residence to the proposed dispensary site.
1:45 – Planning Director David Storer gives brief history/set up for this discussion
2:50 – Questions from council
4:45 – Public Comment – 8 Speakers, including reps from Sonoma Valley Cannabis Enthusiasts (not us), 2 members of Hessel Grange (cultivators), a cannabusiness operator, 2 members of sparc team, a local community member, and the Executive Director of La Luz.
At least 3 of them also mentioned support for a second dispensary.
15:20 – 21:15 Back to council – Councilwoman Harrington states vote is difficult for her because of news article on a financial arrangement between Councilwoman Hundley and sparc. Ms Hundley interrupts Ms Harrington, disagreement/discussion about what’s fact/true, possible conflict of interest, FPPC letter, ensues.
21:20 – 22:55 Councilwoman Agrimonti thanks Ms Harrington (!) for her remarks, expresses worry that she has not received any response from the FPPC (!). Ms Hundley responds that she communicated with FPPC, they would not be sending her a letter (more details, including that others must have also sent inquiries to the FPPC, and reason why FPPC declined to issue an opinion).
23:10 Mayor Harvey asks city attorney about risk of litigation over the FPPC issue, long interesting answer from attorney.
24:40 Mr Harvey lists reasons for his support for sparc. As an aside, he also states support for 2 dispensaries.
26:40 Vote taken – Motion Passes 4-0-1
There will be 2 opportunities to make Public Comment during tomorrow night’s City Council meeting. The first will occur immediately after the meeting begins at 6 PM. This is the time when the public can speak to any item that’s not on the agenda. That means you cannot talk about Sparc, which comes up later in the meeting. But, you *can* speak in support of a second dispensary, before the council officially adds it to the January 20 agenda.
Comments are not limited to Sonoma residents. Anyone who lives in Sonoma or the Springs or anywhere else in the Lower Valley is free to voice an opinion. This issue affects us all.
You can view the current agenda here.
The second opportunity for comment will come later in the meeting (Item 6.2), when the Council will discuss and probably adopt a resolution to move Sparc forward in its process to open a dispensary. If you’d like to offer an opinion on that, this is the time.
There are two ways you can make your comment, via email or on Zoom.
If you would like an email to be read aloud into the record, send it after the Mayor calls the meeting to order and prior to the close of public comment on that item on the agenda. The email address for that is email@example.com
If you would like to make a comment via Zoom, please see the city’s instructions here.
Hope to see or hear you there!
Ken Brown and Jewel Mathieson, in Spirit
Facebook: Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group
Website: Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group
Former Sonoma Mayor Ken Brown is sending the following Letter to the Editor to the Sonoma Index-Tribune:
Dear Citizens- I am very unhappy with the current state of affairs within the Cannabis community and local government. I am a 46 year resident of Sonoma and Sonoma Valley and have been active in local government both as a Commissioner and a 16 year Councilman and Mayor. I have raised four beautiful children here in Sonoma, along with my dear Wife Jewel. We have participated directly in each and every Cannabis focused meeting in the pursuit of providing the City of Sonoma with proper Dispensaries to serve Medical Patients and Recreational Cannabis users. We are now arguing over whether there should be two Dispensaries to serve the population or just one. Frankly, this disagreement is severely harshing my buzz. My tried and true method of dealing with conflict is to have a meeting to deal with the issues. It’s okay with me if folks do not want to do this. I can stay on my porch, look out onto the Fryer Creek Bike and Pedestrian path, and smoke my American Spirits and 2020 Cannabis. I invite direct feedback at my email, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 707-938-8623 and I am a prompt responder.
President of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Enthusiasts
We post this because all 45,000 residents of the southern Valley deserve safe, local access to medicinal and recreational cannabis and a competitive environment that results in better prices, more product choices, higher quality products and innovative services. Competition is a healthy part of any industry. No single business should be allowed to monopolize the market space. For these reasons, the city’s ordinance should be amended to permit at least one additional walk-in dispensary. Consumers deserve no less.
We hope you had a good Holiday, all things considered. 🙂 Wishing you all the best on our way to the next!
As you may know, there is a controversy in Sonoma over whether or not we should permit 2 walk-in dispensaries in the city. We believe competition is a healthy part of any industry. It results in better prices, more product choices, higher quality products and innovative services. Consumers deserve no less.
So, let’s take a little trip in the Wayback Machine for this memory, courtesy of the Sonoma Index-Tribune, March 29, 2019.
I voted for two.
“Cannabis dispensaries: You’re either with ’em or against ’em.
That seemed to be the ‘big take’ behind our latest reader poll results – which found about 64 percent of our more than 150 respondents in favor of one or more dispensaries in town…”
Keep in mind, the poll did not distinguish between walk-in retail and delivery only. And, if you add up the percentages for TWO and MORE, it’s over 50%. Imagine now, a year and a half later, if residents were aware of how competition can benefit them and the city, and a new poll asked, “Should Sonoma allow two walk-in dispensaries?”. We think the results would favor two. The problem with the argument against two walk-ins is that there is none. If someone can make a reasonable case for why two walk-in dispensaries would *hurt* Sonoma, we would be happy to hear it.
It has been suggested that if the service area is really 35,000 people (11,000 within the city limits and another 24,000 in the rest of Lower Valley), then there should be one in the Valley. This argument was put to bed a long time ago. Supervisor Gorin will never permit a dispensary anywhere in the Boyes/El Verano/Fetters Hot Springs/Agua Caliente space. This is like being visited by the ghosts of councils past – David Cook and Gary Edwards are gone, why are we arguing this all over again?
By the way, maybe *someday* there will be a dispensary all the way out in Kenwood. Who’s up for diving into the Springs/Highway 12 traffic nightmare to motor all the way to Kenwood for a product or a service not offered by the sole permit holder in the city? Might as well reset your nav to Cotati.
Jewel Mathieson, in Spirit
Facebook: Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group
Website: Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group