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Recreational Marijuana Sales Cleared To Start April 15 In Sonora

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Sonora, CA – The Sonora City Council addressed two controversial issues at its Monday meeting allowing recreational pot sales to begin next month and start a discussion regarding limiting short-term rentals.

In the past, votes on recreational cannabis sales became marathon meetings via zoom with over a hundred people wanting to speak, as earlier reported here. Last night the subject garnered only five public responses, four against due to concerns of youth use. The lone person in favor commented that marijuana has been legalized in the state through Prop 64 with a majority of city and county residents voting for it.

In the end, the second reading and adoption of the ordinance passed 5-0.  This now allows for a total of three dispensaries, further detailed here. Sonora City Administrator Mary Rose Rutikanga disclosed that since the planning commission approved the conditional use permit for one pot dispensary at its Monday, March 8th meeting, there are no more obstacles. She added, “The ordinance takes effect 30 days after adoption of the second reading, which is April 15th.”

With homelessness and affordable housing, a big concern, the council agreed through unanimous consensus for staff to bring back an ordinance that could possibly limit short-term rentals, like Airbnb, in the city. The council is asking for more data so it can be discussed at a later date, according to Rutikanga. She explained, “It is a controversial topic, and we want to make sure that the public is fully aware of the process. This is the first step in doing that.”

Rutikanga added that at a two-day workshop the council set a goal to put affordable housing and homelessness as a top priority. Further explaining the problem Rutikanga detailed, “Currently, there are over 40 Airbnb rentals in city and zero long terms. Total housing supply, rental and homes for purchase, is 2,700.”

The staff is expected to bring back potential ordinance options no later than May.

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