Cloverdale is cautiously opening the door to cannabis businesses with a measured approach to the newly legitimized industry.
As the northernmost city in Sonoma County and the closest to the prized marijuana grown in the Emerald Triangle of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties, Cloverdale appears well situated to take advantage of an industry emerging from the shadows.
But Mayor Gus Wolter said the Mayberry-like town of 8,800 residents is “taking baby steps” when it comes to allowing and regulating marijuana businesses.
The City Council approved a limit of no more than two dispensaries in the city, and while allowed downtown, they’re subject to a City Council public hearing prior to approval. The ordinance also puts strict conditions on cultivation and cannabis manufacturers’ locations, and includes restrictions for growing both recreational and medicinal pot.
“I don’t want — and I think the vast majority of Cloverdale does not want — to be known as the pot capital of Sonoma County,” he said.
Wolter’s comments came after the City Council this week unanimously approved first-time regulations allowing commercial cannabis uses in Cloverdale and personal cultivation of medical and nonmedical marijuana.
Following the legalization of marijuana in November by California voters, the state began developing regulations for businesses serving the adult use market, and will begin issuing licenses in January.
But cities and counties have authority to regulate where the businesses can be located and conditions of operation.
Many jurisdictions, including Santa Rosa, have rules in place for medicinal marijuana operations, but Cloverdale appears to be in the forefront establishing regulations for the recreational marijuana industry as well.
“We are ahead of a lot of other cities on how we’re approaching this,” Wolter said of the ordinance developed over the past year with numerous public hearings.
Vice-mayor Joe Palla, a retired police chief, remembers