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, Mayor Amy Harrington and Vice 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.
Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group
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, having stonewalled past the initial election deadline, is now finalizing its own ordinance. Early is waiting for an update from City Hall. “Please inform me within the next two weeks (now expired), one way or another, if the ballot measure meets all the legal requirements to be placed on the November 2020 ballot. And if it passes the vote of the people, that it will not be challenged or delayed any further by the City of Sonoma following the vote.” Would the city’s new rule supersede the ballot measure, if approved? Or vice versa? It could get heavy. Everybody pop a gummy and mellow out.
There will almost certainly be a dispensary permitted and open before November of 2020. Some, likely all, on the city council feel the ballot initiative is poorly written and hope voters will recognize that existing ordinances are working and do not need to be replaced. More to come…
Sonoma Cannabis Access, a signature-driven initiative approved for the 2020 ballot by the Sonoma City Council in 2018, permits multiple cannabis businesses in the city’s commercial zones, without a use permit or regulatory fees – unlike many of the other uses currently allowed in commercial zones, which require a use permit. Jon Early collected 800 signatures in support of a cannabis dispensary in Sonoma in 2018 because the city council at that time had refused to support any commercial cannabis businesses in the city limits.
But in the year since that initiative was approved for the ballot the makeup of the Sonoma City Council has shifted, and council members in March approved an ordinance allowing for commercial cannabis operations in the city – including one walk-in dispensary, a delivery-only dispensary, a testing lab and a manufacturing business.
In spite of the city being in the process of developing its own commercial cannabis regulations, the Sonoma Cannabis Access ballot initiative is still slated for a vote in 2020 – and if it passes would override the city’s ordinances.
The article continues,
The state elections code states that “the proponent may withdraw the initiative at any time before the 88th day before the election,” as happened in Napa. Which means that Early could withdraw the Sonoma Cannabis Access initiative if he wished to – perhaps if he found the city’s new cannabis regulations process suitable, or perhaps if he were part of the new cannabis industry in Sonoma.
When asked if he would make an application under the new policy for one of the four projected business licenses, Early demurred. “At the moment I’m not planning to,” he told the Index-Tribune. “I don’t think I want to be a ‘beauty contest’ contender, I don’t like that approach.”
Now, despite the fact that the City of Sonoma has ordinances that permit cannabis businesses, a ballot measure, if passed, could upend and replace them with something that may prove unpalatable to Sonoma’s citizens. More to come…
Commercial Cannabis Ordinance Passed
On June 24, 2019, the City Council conducted a second reading and adopted an Ordinance adding Chapter 5.36 to the Sonoma Municipal Code (Ordinance 03-2019) permitting and regulating commercial cannabis businesses. This ordinance will go into effect on July 24, 2019. In summary, the following types and number of cannabis business are permitted in the City with a Commercial Cannabis Business Permit (CCBP):
Dispensary or Retailer – maximum of one (1).
Non-Store Front Retail Business – maximum of one (1).
Testing laboratory – maximum of one (1).
Manufacturing – maximum of one (1) (State License Type N or P only).
On June 30, 2019, the City Council conducted a second reading and adopted an Ordinance amending Title 19 of the Sonoma Municipal Code relating to commercial cannabis businesses and to permit such uses in specified zoning districts in coordination with the adoption of the new Commercial Cannabis Ordinance amending Title 5 of the Sonoma Municipal Code. This ordinance will go into effect on July 30, 2019.
Next Steps: City Council will adopt criteria for submittal requirements and the adoption of processing fees. This process is anticipated to be completed by October 2019.
For more information, background and to subscribe to email updates when Cannabis Regulation Updates are added, please visit the Cannabis Regulation Page.
Done. The city council adopted the second cannabis ordinance this early Sunday morning and it was a pleasure to be there and see it happen. Thanks to Ken Brown for being there too, in some ways this has been an even longer road for him. Once again, thanks to the city council and staff! : )
Congratulations! We did it. The regulatory ordinance was finally passed on a 3-2 to vote. The first reading of the zoning ordinance also passed 3-2 and its second reading should be completed this Sunday in a special, short meeting.
There are a number of loose ends that need to be addressed in the coming weeks, but your city of Sonoma will now permit a medical dispensary and more!
Thanks to everyone in this group 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.?
Thanks to our City Council allies Rachel E Hundley, Amy Harrington and Logan Harvey for leaning forward on so many fronts to help define Sonoma as a city of progressive values that will be admired as a pacesetter.?
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. Recreational is fine, but if a choice had to be made between it and medical, I’d throw rec under the bus in a New York minute.
It has been a long 24 months since I climbed aboard this roller coaster. Ups, downs, twists and turns, you just try to hang on and do your best to steer. Let your passion fuel you. Let your desire to make things better fuel others to influence, inspire and make an impact. That’s how progress is made. ?
Hello SVCG members!
June 10, 2019, 6 PM
City Council Chambers, 177 First Street West
This is the time to make your presence known and voice heard. Please come show your support!
The Council will discuss and act on the Planning Commission’s 15 recommendations for 2 new Cannabis Ordinances.
The first ordinance covers the procedures for obtaining city approvals for a cannabis business, regulations governing the operation of such business, and the types of businesses that will be allowed (dispensaries, manufacturing and labs). Please note the City Council specified allowing 4 separate businesses, but the Planning Commission recommends only one.
The second ordinance specifies the zoning districts in which cannabis businesses will be allowed.
This is the first Item on the Agenda, so it will occur early. Look forward to seeing you there!
The Agenda can be seen here
The actual Agenda Report with all the details can be seen here (pdf)