Press Release SOSN – SAVE OUR SONOMA NEIGHBORHOODS!
Call to Action to our Bay Area Friends, Media and Community Leaders
August 3, 2018, Sonoma County, CA: SOSN leadership and members will be attending the August 7th Board of Supervisors meeting, calling for changes to the ordinance to support our safety, security, and protections to our neighborhoods, environment and parks. We are prepared to take additional steps if our
demands are not met, with overwhelming support from Sonoma County citizens. We are happy to discuss with media, see contact information below.
The current Sonoma County cannabis ordinance does not protect rural neighborhoods and the environment. Marijauna businesses are allowed in small-acre neighborhoods and grows can be 300 feet from your bedroom. There is a lack of protections for water supply and the environment. It also elevates the risks of violence in neighborhoods due to the high value crop. They are even siting these very close to all our park boundaries.
Who we are: SOSN is an organized non-partisan group of hundreds of Sonoma County citizens and community leaders actively fighting our County government’s Cannabis land use ordinance which daily threatens the safety and security of our families, our homes and entire neighborhoods. This ordinance threatens our livelihoods, our properties and the environment. We demand a new updated ordinance be passed that supports the interests of all Sonoma County residents, not just the marijuana industry. We are not calling for prohibition, see details of our position below. We need your help and support! Please help us preserve Sonoma County as a world class tourism destination with all its natural beauty and healthy outdoor activities. Who wants to smell the odor of cannabis plants or worry about safety while walking in a park? Who wants to see the hills of Petaluma or Sonoma mountain lined with ugly security fences to prevent criminals from stealing high valued cannabis plants?
Call to action:
1) Like us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/209967616337778/
2) Join our advocacy group at: sosneighborhoods.com and receive real-time updates, it’s FREE.
3) Please donate to our cause on the SOSN website. No amount is too small. We need to cover many costs related to printing, mailers, website, potential litigation. Cannabis lobbyists have a loud voice and are well funded and your support is greatly appreciated. Donate at: sosneighborhoods.com
4) Write to each Sonoma County Board of Supervisor to voice your concerns about the current cannabis ordinance. See our website for easy links to communicate with County officials;
5) Attend the Board of Supervisors meeting in Santa Rosa on August 7 when supervisors vote on how to update the cannabis ordinance. You have an opportunity to engage the supervisors and other elected officials to voice your concerns. See details on our website.
6) We seek objective reporters and journalists to hear our side of the story. Contact us through the SOSN website and we’d be delighted to answer any questions.
Why haven’t you heard about these issues?
Most of the press regarding the Sonoma County cannabis ordinance has been one-sided and focused on the small yet very loud minority of cannabis operators and their complaints with compliance, regulations and the tax burden. However, when the voice of the majority of residents is heard, the topic is safety and neighborhood compatibility. The Press Democrat conducted a cannabis poll in June and 70% of Sonoma County residents stated they do not want cannabis operations in their neighborhood. Regarding safety, 71% of residents said they would not feel safe with a cannabis operation within a mile of their homes. Why are commercial cannabis operations a problem in rural Sonoma County? There are safety and security threats, including increased wildfire and crime risk issues (marijuana operators have large sums of cash on site as they cannot bank in FDIC-insured banks – their plants/products are always a target as well), major water resource threats, many environmentally damaging activities, and serious private
Most of the marijuana operators are outsiders who don’t live here and do not care about our communities; they only care about the profits they want from widely marketing vast quantities of marijuana products. This is a repeat of Big tobacco and will have negative impacts on our community and our most vulnerable, our children. SOSN takes no position on Proposition 64, which simply decriminalized small scale possession and use of marijuana for personal use. Many of our members supported it and many did not. We have no issue with those who grow small amounts on their property, this is about BIG MARIJUANA.
We unanimously support sound public health policies that would result in any truly effective medical treatments using marijuana, yet we leave that to scientists, researchers, and healthcare professionals to determine how best to support. We do not believe medical marijuana demand is a valid rationale for permitting hundreds of cannabis sites in our county. The irony is the majority of cannabis grown in California currently leaves the state. There are many locations with better water resources and more suitable conditions where marijuana could be grown. There is absolutely no need to site hundreds of marijuana facilities throughout drought cyclical and wildfire prone rural residential Sonoma County.
Why did the County create this unsustainable ordinance?
The very powerful and complex marijuana industry interests influenced our Board of Supervisors to not just allow, but to promote and subsidize, the development of the marijuana industry here as part of their Economic Development Plan. They did this while completely ignoring all the consequences for public health, crime, homeowner’s rights, fire safety, environment, water resources, and many more negative consequences. The revenue projections for marijuana are trivial compared to these overall hidden costs to our community. One of the main rationales for this ordinance was to combat and shut down the many illegal, highly toxic and environmentally damaging marijuana sites in remote and state park lands throughout Sonoma County. We all agree we want those sites shut down. Yet we fundamentally disagree this is the way to do it. We believe the best place to site marijuana facilities is in industrial zones, away from residences, where security is good and fire danger is much less. These are drug production sites. There are good
reasons we don’t allow high security pharmaceutical plants in rural residential Sonoma County.
The other misconception is that this ordinance will help support local “mom and pop” marijuana businesses.
The reality is there are a few big players with deep pockets investing in the marijuana business here, who coincidentally have ties to and control almost all the local media. Then there is a second tier of players, most of whom are from out of area and do not live here. Both of these groups mostly manage the sites remotely, hiring mostly low skilled labor needed to irrigate, plant, trim and tend the giant water hogging weeds (marijuana requires twice as much as grape vines to grow). The third bottom tier would include our “mom and pop” operators who hope to somehow come up with enough cash to keep their sites going while the price keeps decreasing, pushing this business further into the hands of the big players.
Sonoma County needs to step back and take a big picture view, immediately stop rushing to permit commercial marijuana grows in our rural neighborhoods and bordering our parks. This is only a money-making proposition for the big growers, not for the County. The place for Cannabis operations is in industrial zones where they can be properly monitored and protected