Uncertainty was interjected into Sonoma’s cannabis future this week when the Sonoma City Council failed to approve negotiated terms for a commercial dispensary license for Sparc, the Santa Rosa-based cannabis cultivation and sales company chosen to be Sonoma’s sole dispensary.
Less than half an hour into its Oct. 5 meeting, the city council cast doubt on its own selection process and halted forward progress on its effort to license a cannabis dispensary before the Nov. 3 vote on Measure Y. That signature-driven petition circulated in 2018 to allow multiple cannabis dispensaries in Sonoma with no city council oversight.
While all five of the sitting council members signed the official arguments against Measure Y in the official voter information guide, Monday’s “no action” vote may have given momentum to the Yes on Y campaign of Jon Early, the petition’s originator.
“What was determined last night was that the city council has promoted Measure Y for us,” said Early, who led the 2018 signature drive for Measure Y, in a message to the Index-Tribune following the meeting. “Nothing like a freebie.”
The agenda item was the latest step in a process to fulfill the agreement with Sparc for a retail-cannabis license. It was part of the meeting’s “consent calendar,” which includes items already vetted by the council and typically approved a final time without discussion. But members of the council or the public can request items be pulled from the consent calendar for further discussion, and the item was pulled at the request of Shivawn Brady, a supporter of an applicant for the dispensary license, Justice Grown.
Justice Grown came in second in the city’s application process to select a dispensary operator; their proposed location was in the building complex at 875 W. Napa St.
Before the discussion began, City Councilmember Rachel