First, thanks to former Sonoma Mayor Ken Brown and his late wife Jewel Mathieson for their years of advocacy for patients’ rights to safe, legal medical cannabis. They were the inspiration to form our 200-plus member Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group over three years ago. Since then, we have actively engaged the community and city government to help bring a cannabis dispensary to Sonoma.
Now that the mission has been realized, we also thank the Sonoma City Council for leaning forward on this issue. They’ve helped define Sonoma as a city of progressive values and a pacesetter in Sonoma County.
Recently, some council members expressed support to permit one additional walk-in dispensary with delivery service. We agree, and believe there are a number of reasons why this would be in the best interest of medical patients, adult consumers and the city.
Of course, there are arguments against allowing an additional dispensary in Sonoma.
Some suggest that a second dispensary should be outside the city limits, perhaps in Boyes Hot Springs or in the Fetters Hot Springs or Agua Caliente neighborhoods. However, establishing a dispensary in this area has been tried before and history shows that county politics makes any outlet along the Springs Highway 12 corridor very unlikely.
Others assert that “one is enough” for such a small city, but this presumption fails on two counts. First, the consulting firm advising the city placed the total population of Sonoma and surrounding area at a little over 25,000, and would likely support no more than two retailers. Though the consultant’s findings support a second dispensary, we believe it underestimated the population total. If we include everyone who resides in the entire “service area,” from Schellville to Glen Ellen, the total is really 40,000-45,000 residents. After adjusting the numbers, it’s clear we can