In the heart of Wine Country, where harvest time produces pungent scents of fermenting grapes, the conversation these days is about another odor — that of skunk-like budding marijuana plants.
The harvest is still months away, but wine-centric Healdsburg is wrestling with guidelines for medical marijuana cultivation and whether to confine it indoors.
The intent behind keeping cultivation indoors is not only to suppress the smell, but to discourage burglaries and even violence.
Sonoma County police seized more than $400,000 and 328 pounds of marijuana during a fall campaign to stop drug traffickers on Highway 101 during the outdoor marijuana harvest.
Robert Jacob, founder and executive director of two medical marijuana dispensaries, is running for the City Council in Sebastopol, where a pot business hardly raises an eyebrow. Running the dispensaries might even be a positive, Jacob said.
Occupy Sebastopol demonstrators made a last-minute application Tuesday night for a special events permit that would allow them to continue camping at the town plaza. A decision is expected by the end of the day Wednesday.
For some, the decision by local law enforcement officials to accept Mexican consular IDs represents a violation of the rule of law and an official acceptance of the growing presence of illegal immigrants. But police say it is the most sensible way to play the hand dealt to them by ineffective federal lawmakers who have failed to address issues surrounding illegal immigration. What is your take?
So far, Sebastopol has taken a hands-off approach to the Occupy demonstrators camping on the city’s plaza, refraining from issuing citations. Mayor Guy Wilson says the city needs a long-term plan and has invited demonstrators, business people and members of the public to attend a meeting Wednesday to discuss the next step. “We are a small town and we have a small plaza,” he said. “We literally do not have the size to handle an occupation.”
The Sebastopol City Council met Thursday to discuss how to respond to protesters if they begin camping in the town’s plaza this weekend. Camping in city parks, including the plaza, is against Sebastopol ordinances, but council members shied away from endorsing a crackdown.
Sebastopol is bracing for an Occupy Sebastopol event on Saturday, when demonstrators plan to take over the town plaza. The City Council is holding a special meeting from 3 to 5 p.m. today to discuss the demonstration and the potential impacts on public safety, health and welfare.
The Santa Rosa High School auditorium Sunday had the feel of part victorious political rally, part community party and part tent revival as Sonoma County’s two largest law enforcement agencies announced they would begin accepting Mexican consular cards as a valid identification. The cards will reduce the number of people booked into jail for lacking identification or for traffic offenses. And that will lead to fewer deportations from the jail.