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Cannabis Retail RFP

The Request for Proposals (RFP) process for applications for 1 - retail and 1 - non store front retail Commercial Cannabis Business (“CCB”) is now closed. The City of Sonoma received 10 proposals to operate a commercial cannabis business permit by the February 21st, 2020, deadline date. 

Current Status

The City’s Proposal Review Committee (PRC) interviewed the nine remaining proposers who submitted applications to operate a commercial cannabis business in the City of Sonoma on April 28th and April 29th, 2020. One of the original ten proposers (Harvest of Sonoma) withdrew from the process, leaving nine proposals to be considered for selection for one retail storefront operation and one non-storefront retail operation.

Applicants were ranked based on points awarded in the first two steps of the selection process. In Step 1, applicants were given an initial ranking based on the application (see Initial Ranking Scores). In Step 2, applicants were ranked based on the interview (see Interview Ranking Scores). The scores from each step were then combined for a final score out of 2,500 possible points that determined the Final Ranking. The top five applicants are:

  1. Coastal Retail Sonoma, LLC dba Coastal with 2,453 points (98.12%);
  2. SOPARC, LLC dba SPARC with 2,436 points (97.44%);
  3. R&B Dispensary Inc dba Mercy Wellness Sonoma with 2,397 points (95.88%);
  4. Matanzas Alliance LLC dba Justice Grown with 2,391 points (95.64%) and;
  5. The Lighthouse Sonoma, LLC with 2,390 points (95.6%)

Next Steps

Per the City Council’s approved process and policy, the top five proposers are being presented as “Finalists” by the City Manager (to the City Council) on May 27th as proposers who are to continue to Step 3 of Phase 1 of the selection process.

Appeals by proposers that were not selected in the top five have the ability to appeal the action of the City Manager and will be heard on June 8th during the City Council meeting.  At the June 8th Council meeting, the City Council will hear any appeals and select its finalists to proceed to Phase 2 – the site selection and land use (see process chart).

This application process is adopted pursuant to the Sonoma Administrative Regulations Implementing  Ordinance No. 03-2010 (Section 5.36 of the Sonoma Municipal Code) and Ordinance No. 04-2019 (Title 19).  Please review these regulations to understand the requirements and process for applying for and operating a commercial cannabis retail business in Sonoma.

Applicants should monitor the City’s web page for any additional information, FAQs or updates.  It is the responsibility of the Applicant to stay informed of this information.

If you have any questions or would like an update on the status of your application, please call the Planning Department at 707.938.3681 or by email at cityhall@sonomacity.org.

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Proposed Schedule

Exhibit-1-PROCESS-Commercial-Cannabis-Business-Permit-CCBP

Cannabis Retail RFP FAQs

The definition of “owner” is silent from Ordinance No. 03-2019.  However, for the purposes of the Commercial Cannabis Business Application, “owner” has been defined in the Administrative Regulations, Section 2, paragraph A. Ownership Information.  For additional information regarding ownership and financial interest, the City recommends applicants refer to the California Code of Regulations, Title 16, Division 42, Section 5003. Designation of Owner and Section 5004. Financial Interested in a Commercial Cannabis Business.  For more information, visit the Cannabis Retail RFP page.

When completing the Commercial Cannabis Business application, applicants will want to follow both the Administrative Regulations and the Application Procedures Guidelines.  In the event an applicant who is financed through a publicly-traded company is unable to disclose the personal information of those individuals with an ownership interest of 5% or more, said the applicant should provide a thorough description of the corporate structure and explain why those required individual have not been disclosed.  The City will review the material and handle the scoring on a case by case basis.

For more information, visit the Cannabis Retail RFP page.

To date, the Live Scan form has not been posted to the City’s website.  The form will be uploaded to the website as soon as the City receives authorization from the Department of Justice. Please check the City’s website periodically for updated information. In the meantime, you are required to complete and submit the owner/employee background application form that is posted on the Cannabis Retail RFP web page for each owner required to comply with this requirement which at the minimum be required by state law.

Yes, owners are required to complete the Live Scan process in addition to completing and submitting the supplemental owner/employee background application which is posted on the Cannabis Retail RFP page on the City’s website.

Background materials and responses to the RFP in total shall not exceed 125 pages”. If we have 10 owners, that would be 10 Owner Background\Live Scan forms included in application packet which reduces our RFP response to 115 pages.

  1. Is Background materials, additional information, exhibits, attachments excluded from the 125-page limit? The 125-page limitation does not include background related material.
  2. If no, may you please clarify what items in the RFP are not going to count towards the 125-page limit? Background and Financial related material are the only items which may be excluded from the 125-page limitation.  All other responsive documentation to the RFP: Commercial Cannabis Business Initial Application/Proposal, evaluation criteria found in Appendix A, exhibits and/or attachments are to be included in the 125 pages.
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