Council hits pause on amending dispensary process – Sonoma Index-Tribune

The potential streamlining of the certification process for storefront cannabis shops remained in limbo Wednesday, as the Sonoma City Council pressed the pause button on revisions to its cannabis ordinance.

Council members were considering city staff recommendations for how to tighten up the timeline between fielding applications from dispensary hopefuls and awarding a conditional certificate to operate within the city limits.

The process to award the City’s first dispensary certificate, which went to the Santa Rosa-based Sparc dispensary in December of 2020, took nearly a year. Since then, Sparc has been navigating the planning and design-review requirements of its operation in the former El Gallo Pinto restaurant building at 19315 Sonoma Highway. It is expected to open in early 2022.

When the City Council amended its cannabis ordinance in April to allow for a second walk-in retail shop, members also directed staff to find ways to streamline the evaluation and selection process so certification of cannabis businesses going forward wouldn’t be the year-long process as it was with Sparc.

“Currently, I’m waiting for the first dispensary to open,” said Agrimonti this week when asked about the prospect of a second business.

City staff’s primary recommendation at the Sept. 8 meeting

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