Racism and Cannabis?

What follows is an e-mail one of our members sent to the Mayor and each Sonoma City Council member today. Our member was prompted to do so after listening to a recent Sonoma County Board of Supervisor’s meeting that included an unprecedented string of racist rants via Zoom, one or more of which were voiced by a person who currently holds two retail cannabis permits in Sonoma County, at locations a few miles outside of the Sonoma city limits (those shops have yet to open, for a variety of reasons).

Knowing that SPARC has pleaded financial hardship as the reason the citizens of Sonoma cannot have a second dispensary, and also knowing that the Sonoma City Council hangs its decision to support SPARC as the only game in town partly based on the speculation that maybe someday another shop may open outside of town, we have to wonder:

Is that permit holder, one who advances hate speech, the type of person that our city council, knowingly or not, should rely on as an excuse not to release the second RFP?

Dear Council Member/ Mayor

I was unable to stay on the county board of supervisors meeting for general comments at the September 12 meeting, as it was running very late and I had a prior commitment. I wanted to speak about the end run around the specific plan by Grup/ Rogal for SDC. Today I listened to this meeting. Public comment during the two agenda items preceding general comments and general comments were riddled with anti-Semitic and some anti LQBTQ hate speech. Though they were cut off, it continued and racist slurs got in anyway. This has now ended Zoom access to BOS meetings for the public to speak. I hope this does not happen for the Sonoma City council. Although it is much easier for us to drive into Sonoma for a meeting than to go to Santa Rosa.

I am writing to you today, because I know who one of the racist speakers is. This speaker was identified as Mr. Loe in some of the calls, but in others fake or no names were used. I know this person is John Loe the owner of the two cannabis dispensaries that have been approved for the unincorporated areas of Sonoma Valley close to the city of Sonoma. I know it was him, because several months ago he called my business phone. He started out trying to sound reasonable, but soon began calling me names and stating that I was a sexual deviant. I hung up on him. I know what his voice sounds like.

You may ask, why is he telling me this, there is nothing I can do about it? My point is this, I will never set foot in a business run by someone like this and many, many others will not either. As a member of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group, I will be getting the word out and many people will be boycotting these businesses, if and when they open. Just like not spending my money at LeFever Mattson owned businesses, because profits go to anti LGBTQ and anti-women’s rights organizations, I will not be spending my money at a business owned by a known anti-Semite. And I am sure many others will feel the same way.

The city of Healdsburg has approved an ordinance for 2 cannabis dispensaries. HDL advised them, like they advised the city of Sonoma that it can support 2 easily. SPARC is one of 8 who have applied. This shows that SPARC must be in pretty good financial shape if they can open another dispensary in Healdsburg. I will be writing to the Healdsburg city council to let them know what happened here in Sonoma. If SPARC really is having financial difficultly here in Sonoma, how can they have the money to open another dispensary in Healdsburg? And I will also be letting the Healdsburg city council know about the lies that were told by Erich Pearson and his employees. There are many honest and ethical people in the cannabis industry, and I think this should be a factor in choosing who to permit.

I am reaching out to you to ask once again to open up the RFP process for a second dispensary in the city of Sonoma. SPARC is not in a precarious financial situation as they stated to you, as they can easily open dispensaries elsewhere. Consumers do not have a choice in products from SPARC, unless you buy a case of the product. The 2 dispensaries that are supposedly going to open in the unincorporated area are iffy at best and most of us will not be patronizing them, because of who the owner is and what he stands for.



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