Sonoma Voters Asked to Replace Existing Pot Ordinance

A two-year effort to put commercial cannabis legalization before Sonoma voters is finally coming to fruition. But it comes a year after the City Council adopted a cannabis dispensary ordinance of its own.

On November 3, city residents will get a chance to vote on Measure Y, which would amend the Municipal Code “to permit personal cannabis cultivation on all residential properties and establishment and operation of cannabis businesses within the City...”

Measure Y was spearheaded by a man named Jon Early in 2018 at a time when the City Council was rejecting the idea of cannabis dispensaries within city limits. The City Council said a $25,000 impact study would need to be carried out before Measure Y was placed on ballots. That kicked the can down the road for two more years.

In the intervening time, the Council has undergone a political shift. And in 2019, it approved a single walk-in dispensary and a single delivery-only dispensary in Sonoma. Therefore, if Measure Y passes this November, it would replace the current ordinance.

Unlike the existing ordinance, Measure Y does not place a limit on the number of dispensaries. City leaders also say it comes with a lack of oversight.

“No provision is made for the city or the community to examine and mitigate, in advance of their opening, such businesses’ impacts on the community and the environment,” the city’s attorney has said (Sonoma Index-Tribune).

Whichever way Sonoma residents vote, one thing is for certain: This is a pro-cannabis community. In 2016, Sonoma voters approved California’s marijuana legalization measure by 64%.