Guy Kovner, THE EMERALD REPORT
Small-scale commercial marijuana gardens would be permitted in Sonoma County’s rural residential areas under a medical cannabis zoning ordinance approved by the county Planning Commission on Nov. 17.
The vote followed a renewed dispute between growers and residents who don’t want the plant cultivated in their neighborhoods.
The five-member commission’s final vote was unanimous, but it acknowledged an impassioned plea by Commissioner Willie Lamberson to reject the so-called “cottage grows” in two rural residential zones.“Wherever marijuana goes, crimes follow. That’s a fact,” Lamberson said. “Nothing good will come of this.”
In a direct appeal to his fellow commissioners, Lamberson, who represents the Fourth District, said: “In good conscience, I can’t vote for something I would not want for myself,” adding that his colleagues should take the same approach.
“Let’s be honest here,” he said. “Eighty or 90 percent of this cannabis ain’t going to dispensaries.”
The proposed land use rules, drafted in a hurry by county officials in the past 10 months, apply only to medical cannabis cultivation and other businesses in the unincorporated area outside the county’s nine cities.
State officials are in the process of establishing regulations for medical pot based on a law enacted by the Legislature last year, and California voters approved adult recreational use of marijuana at the polls last week.