The role of cannabis in American culture is changing. It is becoming increasingly accepted in local communities, and Healdsburg is no exception. However, despite surrounding cities such as Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, and Cloverdale allowing cannabis dispensaries in the community, Healdsburg is dispensary-free (although residents can still grow and have cannabis delivered, within city regulations.)
According to former and current members of the Healdsburg City Council, it was a consensus that any approval of dispensaries should be postponed until there are more models and information.
According to Healdsburg Mayor Brigette Mansell, the council has spoken with Sebastopol and Cloverdale government officials about their methods. But, Mansell and former council member Gary Plass said one of the major reasons the council ban stays in place in Healdsburg is that not enough community members have come forward to argue the decision.
“If people came to the city council meetings and said, ‘get going Healdsburg we want to have dispensaries,’” Mansell said. “Or if we have a council that wants to forward that, but not right now, not yet.”
Plass, who was the founding member of the city’s medical cannabis committee, says there are still many unknowns to recreational cannabis, prompting fears. Mansell and Plass addressed a community fear of the cannabis industry potentially jeopardizing the tourism market and affecting the wine brand of the city.
“We don’t know what a dispensary would do to the atmosphere downtown; at this point, the council is not willing to take that chance. Will it change? It could,” said Plass.
Those who want to sell cannabis products in Healdsburg have to wait until the council makes a decision to repeal the city ordinance. One of those businesses that wants to sell their product in Healdsburg is Garden Society, founded by Erin Gore, a Healdsburg resident.