Sonoma holds second town hall on cannabis regulation



The second of two “town halls” on the ever-smoldering subject of cannabis in Sonoma takes place tomorrow, Wednesday April 11, to explain state and local policies on legalized cannabis, and gauge local preferences and priorities in cannabis regulation.

The first meeting was held on March 28, in the same venue – Andrews Hall at the Sonoma Community Center. This second meeting will focus on answering questions from the prior Town Hall, especially those related to the state-mandated cannabis buffer zones from schools and youth facilities as defined by local governments.

About 40 people were in the hall for that first meeting, as well as four of the five city councilmembers, two representatives from Muni Services – the consulting firm helping the city wade through the regulatory weeds – and a handful from city government, including Planning Director David Goodison and City Manager Cathy Capriola.

Jeff Kolin, of Muni Services, opened his presentation by admitting, “I know that many of you here are more familiar with cannabis that I am,” then went on to review the results of the 2016 Proposition 64 that legalized recreational use of cannabis products. That passed statewide with 57 percent in favor, higher still in Sonoma County with 59 percent, and even higher in the city of Sonoma where 62.4 percent of voters approved the proposition.

That strong local support encouraged many in attendance to say time and again that Sonoma residents support legalized cannabis, and that it’s incumbent upon the city to allow adult use. (Kolin pointed out that nowhere in Prop. 64 does it mention “recreational cannabis” as opposed to “medicinal,” instead using the term “adult use,” and specifying an age requirement of 21 and over.)

However, the city’s directive to Muni Services was to investigate only medicinal cannabis policy, not adult use, one topic that might be addressed again at the Wednesday meeting. Muni Services was also asked to look at manufacturing with non-volatile solvents, testing small samples for potency or contaminants, and medical retail regulation.