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County Administrator's Office

Sonoma County Cannabis Program

Cannabis Program Update & Environmental Impact Report

Notice of Preparation for the Cannabis EIR Available Now

The County has prepared and released a Notice of Preparation (NOP) as the first step in the EIR process for the Comprehensive Cannabis Program Update. The NOP provides a brief summary of the Update, the County’s preliminary identification of the potential environmental issues to be analyzed in the EIR, and information on how to provide written comments and verbal comment (as part of a virtual Public Scoping Meeting) on the scope of the EIR. The County invites any and all input and comments regarding the preparation of the Program EIR.

Read the Notice of Preparation (PDF: 953 KB)

Comment Period is open until Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 5:00 PM

Written comments may be provided via email or by regular mail and must be received by 5:00 PM on Thursday, March 23, 2023.

Note: All commenters who provide an email address will be added to the Interested Parties List.

Public Scoping Meeting 

The County held a virtual public scoping meeting to provide an opportunity for agency staff and interested members of the public to submit verbal comments on the scope of the environmental issues to be addressed in the EIR. The scoping meeting was held on March 8, 2023 and included a presentation on elements of the Cannabis Program Update, a summary of the NOP and broader CEQA process to come, and an opportunity to provide comments on the scope of the EIR. The scoping presentation was recorded and will be available to view after March 15, 2023. 

Link to PowerPoint Presentation (English and Spanish)

Scoping Meeting Zoom Recording

Ascent Environmental, Inc. selected as consultant for Cannabis Program Update EIR and Economic Analysis

Permit Sonoma released a Request for Proposals (RFP) on May 20, 2022, to solicit proposals to prepare a Programmatic EIR and an Economic Analysis in support of the Comprehensive Cannabis Program Update. Two firms responded with proposals for the requested scope of work: Ascent Environmental, Inc. and Rincon Consultants, Inc. 

County staff evaluated and scored both proposals in accordance with the evaluation criteria outlined in the RFP. The review panel consisted of four staff members from the Planning Division of Permit Sonoma and one staff member from the County Administrator’s Office. Ascent was unanimously scored as the preferred bidder because of the proposal’s strong emphasis on environmental review streamlining of future cannabis applications and demonstrated experience conducting similar environmental reviews for other California county cannabis land use ordinances. 

The Board of Supervisors approved the selection on October 4, 2022. 

Item Materials on Board of Supervisors Agenda website

Review the proposals

Read the Request for Proposals

Cannabis Program Update & EIR Public Comment

Public comment received regarding the Cannabis Program Update & EIR will be published on a monthly basis.

Review public comment

Comprehensive Cannabis Program Update Study Session - September 28, 2021

On June 8, 2021, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to complete a comprehensive update of the cannabis program, based on community input and an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). As a first step in this three-year process, staff relaunched public outreach and engagement by holding eight virtual visioning sessions, twelve small group outreach sessions, and conducting a county-wide survey.

This study session provided an opportunity for staff to update the Board on the results of the outreach, and receive direction regarding overall program goals and policy options. This workshop also served as a forum for additional public input on the goals of the project.

Item Materials on Board of Supervisors Agenda website

Community Group Meetings

Visioning Sessions for Sonoma County's Cannabis Program

During the week of August 9, Sonoma County staff led two identical discussions on each of the following topics:  

Monday, August 9:  Land Use
Zoom Recordings: 11:30 AM Session / 5:30 PM Session

Tuesday, August 10: Safety Concerns
Zoom Recordings: 11:30 AM Session / 5:30 PM Session

Wednesday, August 11: Water Considerations
Zoom Recordings: 11:30 AM Session / 5:30 PM Session

Thursday, August 12: Visual Considerations
Zoom Recordings: 11:30 AM Session / 5:30 PM Session

SoCoCloud folder containing the PowerPoint Presentations (in both English and Spanish), Zoom Chat Text, and Questions & Answers Text.

Timeline (subject to change)

June 8, 2021 Board approval of initial resources request (June 8, 2021 Board Summary Report)

  • Public Visioning and Idea Generating – July 2021 through September 2021 
    • Week of August 2 – Begin scheduling with stakeholders for small group outreach
    • Week of August 9 – Topic-based Public Visioning Sessions
    • Week of August 16 – Conduct small group outreach, sessions to be recorded and posted online
    • Week of August 23 – Conduct small group outreach, sessions to be recorded and posted online
    • Week of August 30 – Conduct a County-wide digital survey to request additional information
    • Week of September 13 – Board of Supervisors package posted online and made available to the public
    • September 28, 2021 – Board Workshop on Project Goals (September 28, 2021 Board Summary Report)
  • Development of Draft Ordinance Framework – October 2021 through March 15, 2022
  • Development and Refinement of Draft Ordinance – March 2022 through October 2022
    • May 20, 2022 - Initiate Competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) Process for an EIR Consultant
    • Continue public outreach to develop and refine potential program elements, listen to concerns, and develop options to address concerns
    • October 2022 – Preliminary draft ordinance, and any general plan amendments needed for consistency, complete for environmental analysis
  • Environmental Impact Report (EIR) – October 2022 through ~February 2024 - WE ARE HERE

    • October 4, 2022 - Board of Supervisors consideration of EIR Professional Services Agreement (October 4, 2022 Item Materials)
    • February 6, 2023 – Notice of Preparation published for the Draft EIR to kick off the EIR scoping effort
    • March 8, 2023 at 6:00PM – Virtual public scoping meeting scheduled
    • Seek public input on what Potential Environmental Impacts should be considered in the EIR
    • Conduct environmental analysis of the proposed draft ordinance
    • Provide public access to technical studies used in the environmental analysis, as available
    • Provide regular public status updates throughout the EIR process
    • February 2024 – Draft EIR Published for Public Comment
  • Draft Ordinance and EIR Approval – ~March 2024 through ~Summer 2024
    • March 2024 – Draft EIR to Planning Commission for public comment
    • Revisions to draft ordinance based on public comment and Planning Commission direction
    • June 2024 – Planning Commission Hearing on Proposed Ordinance
    • September 2024 – Board Hearing on Proposed Ordinance