Let’s say Sonoma only allowed one grocery store and you were forced to choose between shopping at the very expensive Sonoma Market or driving to Napa or Santa Rosa for cheaper products, or for items not available at the local market. Would this be acceptable to you?

What if the only pharmacy permitted was the CVS at the Marketplace Shopping Center and it didn’t carry the particular brand of OTC medication that works for you? And the next closest CVS was on Kenilworth Drive in Petaluma.

Now, those scenarios may be a bit far-fetched, but they illustrate how limited your selections for the best products, prices and services are as long as the city restricts your freedom of choice.

Sonoma’s ordinance permits two dispensaries. Why do we only have access to one?

Or let’s try another scenario. Your town only permits one wine store and maybe it doesn’t carry your favorite Cab or Sauvignon Blanc. You’d like to have a second shop nearby in town, but local government insists it shouldn’t be an issue because one or 2 more shops will eventually open outside of town. Unfortunately, either or both would necessitate a 40-minute round trip to those locations.

Besides the fact that either location requires more time and gas (and emissions) to visit than would a second shop right in town, you discover that both locations must satisfy about 80 conditions for approval before the county allows them to open – and you’re told that those conditions have yet to be met and it would be impossible to put a time line on when ground might be broken, let alone doors finally opening for business.

As a consumer, how would you feel about this?