Slippery slope of cannabis tourism
Our regulators will shortly decide whether promoting cannabis tourism will be part of the new cannabis or the new dinance. This is a slippery slope! Getting up in the privacy of your home is one thing. But how will cannabis tasting rooms work – will they resemble opium dens or cigar bars, with tourists lounging in while eating appetizers until the drug works? Then where are they going? Traffic safety is an important concern here.
Although tourism is important to Sonoma County; Let’s put it into perspective. Pre-pandemic data from the Sonoma County Economic Development Board shows that spending on tourists is roughly 6.5% of Sonoma County’s annual gross domestic product (GDP). This encompasses a wide range of tourist types such as cyclists and coastal visitors. However, media coverage of tourism can lead the public to believe that tourism is the dominant factor in our economy – not so. Six (6) other industries add more value to the county’s GDP.
In fact, we – civil attorneys who work constructively with our county officials – have preserved Sonoma County’s greatest fortune: pristine coastline, extensive farmland, green spaces and community dividers, and open space and park areas. And the district’s voters consistently vote for additional taxes to protect and preserve these environmental and community assets.
Please write to your manager and encourage them to uphold District Ordinance No. 6245, Section 26-88-250 (c) (5), which states, “Tastings, promotions, and events related to commercial cannabis activities are prohibited. ed. “
Santa Rosa, CA.
Winery workshop pay more lip service
At the county Winery Events Ordinance workshop, we heard lip service from county employees about weighing the needs of the wine industry. However, the district does not recognize that almost 500 wineries have been approved in the last 20 years, twice as many as forecast in our general plan. Tasting rooms shifted from drop-in, stand-up tastings to seated wine and food recommendations, coupled with an explosion in the number of events across the county.
These efforts grew out of residents’ concern that the spread of tasting rooms and events was getting out of hand. The wine industry has made the absurd suggestion that parties and events should not be restricted but expanded by the county.
It is long overdue for the employees of the district to bring pen to paper and to develop a regulation that protects the public safety and quality of life of the residents of urban districts with more and more facilities and advertising purposes.
During the workshop, the public expressed a strong preference for continuing the standards for events and focusing on further limiting the size of such events. If the county is considering expanding the use of the hospitality industry, it will need to conduct a full EIR to study the impact of such a significant policy change.
Rohnert Park CA.
Enough is enough
The virtual Winery Events Ordinance workshop in February, which was attended by 200 participants, was another exercise in the redundant, chaotic, and nerve-wracking process the county has been burdening the community with in recent years. The county has repeatedly asked for feedback from the same affected residents and representatives of the wineries – in numerous workshops to the 21-person winery working group, which met monthly in 2015, to county-sponsored Community Advisory Councils, which are mainly made up of self-employed winemakers – compose interest as their only agenda.
Community groups have worked constructively with the county for seven long years and have repeatedly come up with balanced recommended guidelines. Meanwhile, over the past few years, the wine industry has been holding secret ad hoc meetings with some of our superiors to advocate for fewer regulations.
It’s time to cut bait and draft an ordinance that will protect the public safety and quality of life of residents of neighborhoods with event centers.
While the wine industry is advocating fewer regulations and more demands, residents want peace and quiet, less traffic, less noise and fewer DUIs in their neighbors.
The district is responsible to the entire community when it comes to safety, the environment and quality of life. Handing this process over to industry-dominated committees and lobbyists to enact lax regulations is a breach of responsibility.
Enough is enough.
GET RURAL SONOMA COUNTY
To the citizens of Sonoma County:
As a 70 year old Sonoma County Asian American citizen, I am very sensitive to issues of injustice and inequality.
When our local politicians talk about putting sales tax and TOT tax increases on the electoral measure to support the local services needed, services that I support and value, I am frustrated that the tools politicians are always relying on fall back, the most painful are those who can least afford the tax increases – namely, senior citizens with fixed incomes and young families who are just starting their lives.