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Sonoma council OKs cannabis guidelines

Posted on March 8, 2019 by Sonoma Valley Sun

A maximum of two cannabis retailers — one store, and one delivery-only business — would be allowed within Sonoma city limits under guidelines approved Monday night by the city council.

Now officially under development by city staff, the new rules are likely to come up for a final vote no earlier than June. They would ban commercial cultivation and establish buffer zones around schools and the Plaza, while allowing limited manufacturing and testing facilities.

Additionally, the Council provided direction on zoning and the number of permits available for each type of activity. The breakdown:

  • RETAIL DISPENSARIES: Max of 2: one storefront, and one non-storefront. Council directed to allow two cannabis dispensaries within the City. One to allow retail sales in a “storefront” facility which is open to the public during regular business hours and the second to be a “non-storefront” dispensary that would only allow sales to customers exclusively through delivery and not be open to the public/retail traffic.
  • CULTIVATION: None. No cultivation of commercial cannabis to be allowed in the city limits.
  • MANUFACTURER: One (1) Type N (for infusions) and/or Type P (for packaging and labeling only). The City Council wants to allow one non-volatile manufacturing cannabis business that would be focused on food or topical health-related products.
  • TESTING: One (1). The City Council wants to allow one testing cannabis facility.
  • DISTRIBUTION: For Transport Only. Distribution will only be allowed for transportation of a business’ own product, not for general distribution.

As directed by the council, the ordinance is to include provisions for state-mandated buffers of 600 feet around public and private schools (K-12). Shopping centers and some smaller retail locations would be exempt from these 600 feet buffer zones.

Other locally sensitive locations to be excluded include the Sonoma Valley Little League fields on First Street East and the Plaza. Specifically, the Council directed that no commercial cannabis would be allowed within the Plaza Retail Overlay District.

City staff will now formulate the specific language of the ordinance, and develop an application/permitting process. The initial timeline calls for the first permit to be issued in December, pending the business meets all other city regulations.  



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