A Timeline of Cannabis in Sonoma County

This timeline is a reformatted version of an interactive exhibit created by Rogoway Law Group for the Museum of Sonoma County’s exhibition “Grass Roots: Cannabis from Prohibition to Prescription,” which explored the long and rich history of cannabis in Northern California.

1875

San Francisco’s Ordinance against Opium Dens

In the United States, the first drug law was passed in San Francisco in 1875, banning the smoking of opium in opium dens.

1875

1913

Amendment to Poison Act

An amendment to The Poison Act was passed in California which made possession of “extracts, tinctures, or other narcotic preparations of hemp, or loco-weed, their preparations and compounds” a misdemeanor.

1913

1983

CAMPAIGN AGAINST MARIJUANA PLANTING

Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) was established in 1983 to reduce the supply of marijuana to the illegal drug trade by eradicating the large marijuana crop sites. increasing public and environmental safety by removing marijuana growers from public and private lands. CAMP was the largest task force in the United States with over 110 agencies participating.

1983

1991

SAN FRANCISCO PASSES PROPOSITION P

Formal recognition of medical cannabis began in the Bay Area county by county. In 1991, San Francisco passed a voter initiative, Proposition P, recognizing medical cannabis with the support of Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary.

1991

Dennis Peron, 1991

Brownie Mary, 1991

1993

ERNIE CAPENTER’S 1993 RESOLUTION

In 1993, Sonoma County Supervisor, Ernie Capenter, introduced a resolution asking for cannabis to be available for prescription. like other medicines. The resolution passed October 13, 1993 following testimony from Dennis Peron, Brownie Mary and others.

1993

1995

PROP 215 CAMPAIGN

San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma County start the statewide push for Proposition 215 to make medical cannabis legal.

1995

October, 1996

FORMATION OF SONOMA ALLIANCE FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Late October, at a party in Forestville, the Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana (SAMM) is formed in anticipation of the legalization of Medicinal Marijuana.

In the picture: SAMM Member Doc Knapp, 1996.

October, 1996

November 5, 1996

PROPOSITION 215 PASSES

Prop 215 passed with 56% support in 1996. Sonoma County Voters expressed 69% vote in favor of Medical Cannabis. Sonoma County activists celebrated this historic event, hosting an Election night party to celebrate the success of their efforts on November 5th 1996.California was the first state to pass medical cannabis laws, which started a national trend on medical use. Over 40 states have recognized medical cannabis since this time.

November 5, 1996

1997

MARVIN’S GARDENS FOUNDED

Marvin’s Gardens was founded by a Sonoma County man with AIDS shortly after California voters approved Proposition 215. For years, the cooperative dispensary operated out of private residences, including the basement of a member’s house.

1997

1998

ACCESS BECOMES THE QUESTION

Anxiety over access to cannabis for medicinal use becomes apparent. While medicinal Marijuana is allowed under proposition 215 with doctor approval, there is no legal mechanism to acquire cannabis. Marvin’s Gardens became the first dispensary that opened in Sonoma County, across the street from Guerneville Sheriff’s station founded by Sean Pena, who was an AIDS patient, and his father was a former Sonoma Sheriff & board member of the collective. The dispensary had an“intake house” where they verified medical status, and then they were given an address to go purchase cannabis.

1998

1998

DENNIS PERON’S BID FOR GOVERNOR

1998

2001

FAILED ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS LEAD TO NEW CANNABIS POLICY

District Attorney Mike Mullens works with Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana and sets cannabis policy of 100 square feet and up to 99 plants after two trials that did not end up in conviction. The first was Alan MacFarlane who was acquitted in Sonoma County for cultivating 128 plants for 10 members. The second case was Robin Few, Mike Foley, and Ken Hayes who were cultivating 899 plants in Sonoma County for a San Francisco dispensary with 1200 patients. Sheriff at the time was Bill Cogbill.

2001

2002

CONANT V. WALTERS

Conant v. Walters case in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirms the right of physicians to recommend medical marijuana as a first amendment right of patients to hear accurate information from their doctors.

2002

2002

MEDICAL MARIJUANA CLUB LOSES HOME

A federal raid and cease and desist order forces the closure of AIKO Compassion Center, a mediclal marijuana club in west Santa Rosa.

2002

2002

AMERICANS FOR SAFE ACCESS FOUNDED

A February 12, 2002 raid of Harm Reduction Center in San Francisco, was related to an investigation of Ed Rosenthal which proceeded in his trial. The political work surrounding his case resulted in the founding of the patient advocacy organization: Americans for Safe Access. Sonoma ASA was one of the first ASA chapters formed, Chaired by John Shaw. Sonoma activist Kay Mitchell becomes the face of ASA’s medical cannabis movement.

2002

2003

CALIFORNIA SENATE BILL 420

In recognition of the fact that the guidelines are inadequate for many very ill patients, California Senate Bill 420 allows patients to be exempted from them if they obtain a physician’s statement that they need more. In deference to local autonomy, SB 420 also allows counties and cities to establish higher – but not lower – guidelines if they so choose. Allows for collectives and Cooperatives. Sonoma already has 100 square feet per person in place (see letter from Mike Mullins) with adoption of collectives and cooperatives, cultivations assume 100 square feet per member is the new guideline.

2003

2003

Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana (SAMM) Guidelines

2003

2003

Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana (SAMM) Canopy Guidelines, 2003

2003

2005

SANTA ROSA ORDINANCE TO PASSES MEDICAL DISPENSARIES

Santa Rosa is the first city in Sonoma County to pass an ordinance to regulate medical cannabis dispensaries. The largest existing dispensary in Santa Rosa (Resource Green) was forced to close and Caregiver Compassion Center has to move to a different location. Sonoma Patient Group is still operated by two of CCC’s founding members: Jewel Matheson & John Suggs.

2005

2006

CHANGE IN SONOMA COUNTY CULTIVATION GUIDELINES

Sonoma Board of Supervisors changes cannabis cultivation guidelines from 100 square feet, up to 99 plants, to 100 square feet up to 30 plants per patient.

2006

2007

SONOMA PATIENT GROUP FOUNDED

John Sugg, along with business partner Jewel Mathieson, founded the Sonoma Patient Group. For years after a previous dispensary he managed was raided, John Sugg began the Caregiver Compassion Center.

2007

2007

PEACE IN MEDICINE JAR

Robert Jacob founds the dispensary, Peace and Medicine, in Sebastopol with about two-dozen marijuana farmers and patients. Jacob was active in local politics. He ran for Sebastopol City Council in 2012 and won, becoming one of the first elected officials in the state to openly make a living in medical marijuana.

2007

2008

2008

2008

2008

2013

THE EMERALD CUP

The Emerald Cup, Northern California’s pre-eminent marijuana festival and contest is held in Santa Rosa for the first time after moving south from its beginnings in Mendocino County.

2013

2014

SONOMA BLOSSOM FESTIVAL

Sonoma Blossom Festival – an annual all-day educational event to share advocacy and legal information on medical cannabis started. Attendees also participated in music, collaborative painting and other entertainment.

2014

2015

ASA LOBBYISTS PUSH FOR AB258

Americans for Safe Access lobbyists, including Kumari Sivadas, Sarah Shrader, and Linda Stokley of Sonoma County, convince Mark Levine to introduce AB258 preventing patients from being removed from organ transplant lists due to cannabis in their system.

2015

2016

POLICE RAID CANNACRAFT

Police raid Cannacraft in Santa Rosa and seize about $500,000 in cash slated for payroll and the company’s extraction equipment. Founder and owner Dennis Hunter’s arrest and the high-profile raid by heavily armed law enforcement officers and hazmat crews sparked an outcry from local marijuana advocates and business leaders, who gathered the next day in protest outside Sonoma County Superior Court in Santa Rosa.

2016

November 8, 2016

PROP 64 PASSES

On November 8, 2016, the majority of California voters passed Proposition 64 – The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Prop 64). California joins several states including Washington, Oregon, and Colorado where the personal possession and use of marijuana is decriminalized. Prop 64 permits adults 21 years of age and over to possess and grow specified amounts of marijuana for recreational use.

November 8, 2016

December 14, 2016

SANTA ROSA ISSUES FIRST MANUFACTURING PERMIT

On November 8, 2016, the majority of California voters passed Proposition 64 – The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Prop 64). California joins several states including Washington, Oregon, and Colorado where the personal possession and use of marijuana is decriminalized. Prop 64 permits adults 21 years of age and over to possess and grow specified amounts of marijuana for recreational use.

December 14, 2016

2018

Rogoway Law Group represents Brooke Adams pro-bono to challenge the Rincoln Valley School District, for the kindergartener’s right to use cannabis oils administered by her nurse while she is on school campus. Court is held in a school music classroom, after emotional testimony, the Judge rules in Brooks favor in September of 2018. Her family continues to advocate for other pediatric patients in California.

2018