Sonoma town hall to give residents chance to weigh in on cannabis process


Faced with the challenging task of balancing the 2016 state legalization of recreational marijuana with the at-times cautious civic character of Sonoma, the City Council has twice imposed a moratorium on commercial cannabis cultivation, as well as the use, distribution and sale of cannabis products.

The second moratorium terms out on Nov. 6 – the day before the fall election – by which time the city has promised a new community policy regarding medical and perhaps recreational cannabis. But the second moratorium also opened the door to legal delivery of cannabis to Sonoma’s medical-marijuana patients, marking the first time any sort of legalized cannabis business has been allowed in the city.

The first public workshop in the city’s cannabis policy review will be held on Wednesday, March 28, in Andrews Hall at the Sonoma Community Center, starting at 6:30 p.m. Another is scheduled to follow two weeks later, on April 11. Both are part of the evaluation process undertaken with the municipal consulting firm Muni Services last August. Recommendations are expected to come out of the process in the fall for city council action.

The March 28 meeting will focus on background information, state regulations, overview of dispensaries, testing and manufacturing facilities, and options/issues for municipal regulation, according to the city’s press release. There will be “an exercise for attendees to give specific feedback” and a public comment period.

The April 11 meeting will have a slightly different agenda, including answering questions raised at the prior Town Hall, as well as distance requirements and other regulatory options for specific cannabis businesses, plus potential taxing, fee and other administrative issues.