April 28, 2017
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Jud Snyder
Prop. 64 flops, a demo seed farm and chickens
January 26, 2017

LET’S SEE NOW, IN ROHNERT Park, City Manager Darrin Jenkins and then Mayor Gina Belforte together sent a letter to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors suggesting the restrictions that should be applied to the recently approved Proposition 64 by voters. RP’s city council seemingly had a sense it was on the way and had been working on marijuana rules and legal marijuana clinics for nearly a year.

The Jenkins/Belforte letter said the “county should” have a more restrictive approach, a buffer zone of 1,000 feet from city limits, prohibit marijuana from inside the city’s Sphere of Influence, prohibit it from community separators and protect land supply needed for housing. Doesn’t leave much land left for growing marijuana, does it?

And just a few weeks ago the Cotati City Council unanimously passed two emergency ordinances prohibiting the growth of non-medical cannabis for 45 days. 

This gives the council time to draw up rules and keep an eye on future developments as Prop. 64 will ultimately be hammered into a better shape than it is now in its awkward cart before the horse cartoon.

There’s not much cannabis culture you can create with only a maximum of five indoor or outdoor plants allowed and their odor has to be controlled. Not much has been mentioned about schools. 

How far away do plants have to be from schools? The odor from crushed marijuana buds is not what parents want to smell wafting over their children’s playgrounds. 

I’m sure elementary school teachers agree. Many California cities are going through the same as we are. It’s a statewide phenomenon no other state in the country has been forced into before. 


STUDENTS AND teachers wouldn’t mind having the odors of a Rohnert Demonstration Seed Farm wafting over their kids’ playground. Neither would the assortment of chickens who have found safe homes in Cotati and RP shopping centers. That cute picture on page one of The Community Voice last week cemented this rural image and I’m pretty sure chickens like flower gardens just as well. 

It might only be a few acres in size, but I could say chickens might be tired of the urban shopping center scene and look at a demo flower garden as a rural vacation spa. 

The thing about a two- or three-acre Rohnert demo seed farm is it will not attract motor vehicle usage, only foot paths for visitors.

We’re already creating a Downtown Rohnert Park focused on the SMART commute rail depot. To have a demonstration Rohnert Seed Farm on the north side of RP Expressway would definitely not be “closure” as that tired old cliché puts it, it will be an “opener.” 

It will show how a city can be created from a huge flower garden and doesn’t need traditional railroads to build it. Its uniqueness by itself will be an attraction and will bring in visitors. The field of flowers from which a city arose is a prize the city should heartily embrace.


Jud Snyder’s column appears each week in The Community Voice.