Santa Rosa is seeking public input that may help shape the city's cannabis policies.
Its part of a state grant program whose goal is leveling the playing field in a lucrative, but capital intensive industry.
Tied to recreational cannabis legalization, a state grant program seeks to open doors for those shut out of the profitable business. Before local jurisdictions can pass along that money, they must gather data. The city received seventy five thousand dollars for that purpose.
"It's really focused on the impacts from the war on drugs and having disproportionately impacted the industry and those that can participate in the permitting system."
That's Amy Lyle with the City of Santa Rosa. She said, in other words, people without financial resources or with arrest records are much less likely to obtain financing. Or have the money on hand to get off the ground.
Lyle said it's unclear if city officials will approve of the second part of the program, providing money to help the underprivileged launch cannabis-related businesses.
"We have not decided whether we do want to create that grant program."
The online survey is ongoing, with no closing date. Santa Rosa Senior Planner Monet Sheikhali says the number of survey responses is exceeding expectations.
"The number we have received is pretty good right now. And they have received good comments. Our consultant was expecting more than 100, but now we are at 211," she said.
California set aside nearly fifteen million dollars for such programs statewide, with just under seven hundred thousand dollars granted to Sonoma County for it to distribute. Lyle said some of the push is introspective for public agencies.
"Part of this is really not just looking at our permitting and the barriers we had created as government but also the criminalization for decades before," she said.
The city will host an online workshop about the grant program on June 26th starting at 6:00 PM. A link can be found on the city of Santa Rosa's webpage by searching for cannabis.