The following is our latest email to the city council, the city manager, planning director and city attorney. This was also sent separately to the Publishers of the IT and Sonoma Valley Sun:
Sonoma City Council
No. 1 The Plaza
Sonoma, CA 95476
January 18, 2023
Re: Placing Second Cannabis Dispensary on Agenda
Dear Mayor Lowe and City Council Members,
We are writing because we believe now is the time to move forward with the second dispensary process. Setting this as a high priority will allow the city to receive additional tax revenue sooner than later, as well as provide patients and consumers with fairer, more equitable access to products and services.
Please permit us to quote from the Agenda Report – Second Commercial Cannabis – Procedures & Guidelines contained in item 7.2, November 17, 2021:
“4. RFP. Staff recommends that the City Council consider the second “RFP” process after receiving tax data/reports following a 6-month operational/finance reporting period. This would allow the City Council to not only determine the fiscal benefits of authorizing a second commercial cannabis business to operate in the City, but also provide adequate time to evaluate any communitywide benefits or impacts associated with the use. Staff anticipates being able to report back to the City Council in Fall 2022 regarding any potential impacts and would return to the City Council for direction on the timing of the release of the RFP, ostensibly prior to the end of the calendar year.”
On the evening of November 17, 2021, the city council unanimously adopted two Resolutions. The first approved “Administrative Regulations and Application Procedures and Guidelines”, and the second, “Commercial Cannabis Processing Fees”. These two Resolutions constitute the Request for Proposals document.
Staff anticipated that it would report its findings to the city council in the fall of 2022. We are now three months beyond that 6-month operational/finance reporting period. The newest city council members all showed their support for a second dispensary at the October 10 candidates forum, so we feel the time is right for the city to consider, discuss and act on opening the Request for Proposal Process (RFP) for a second retail storefront commercial cannabis business in the city and that this be placed on the city council’s agenda in February/March.
We understand that the city currently has an interim city manager and interim planning director. We welcome them to their positions and look forward to working with them. Should they need more background on the issue, we refer them to the same agenda item, 7.2, of November 17, 2021.
SVCG Executive/Policy Committee