Court Issues Temporary Restraining Order Protecting Sonoma County Neighborhood Against Alleged Illegal Cannabis Tourism

Court Issues Temporary Restraining Order Protecting Sonoma County Neighborhood Against Alleged Illegal Cannabis Tourism
Petaluma, CA, October 23, 2018 --( A group of Sonoma County residents has filed a lawsuit to shut down an alleged illegal pot grow and cannabis tourism operation in the Purvine Road neighborhood. The suit alleges that the grower is unlicensed and is transforming a peaceful stretch of the Petaluma Dairy Belt into an unlaw­ful cannabis event venue, corporate retreat and cannabis tourism destination.

Allegedly, the grow, located at 334 Purvine Road, has been operating without a permit since 2017. Allegedly, according to plaintiffs, tourists regularly visit the property on “can­nabis experience tours,” arriving on buses to view the cannabis operation and eat and relax at picnic tables in the cannabis field.

Plaintiffs also object to steps by the owners to turn the property into a can­nabis event venue and retreat. Allegedly, group dinners, featuring cannabis-infused food and cocktails, are hosted in a barn which the owners renovated for that purpose.

Plaintiffs are asking the court to halt these alleged activities as illegal under both state and local law. Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the alleged San Francisco-based property owner and cannabis operator, Petaluma Hills Farm, LLC and Sonoma Hills Farm, LLC; their owners and officers; and the alleged cannabis tour oper­tor, The Sonoma County Experience, LLC.

On October 18, the court issued a temporary restraining order pro­hibit­ing the defendants from cultivating cannabis without a license and permit; hosting cannabis events or engaging in cannabis promotional activities; sponsoring non-cannabis events without an event permit; and operating the property as a vacation rental or bed and breakfast. A further hearing in the case is set for November.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are allegedly residents of Purvine Road and a neighbor­hood advocacy group, No Pot on Purvine. Phoebe Lang, one of the plaintiffs, said, “We took le­gal action when it became clear that our once-quiet neighborhood was under at­tack. We cherish the beauty and tranquility of rural Sonoma, and will fight to preserve our peaceful way of life. Purvine Road is no place for tour buses full of party-goers.”

Britt Christiansen, another plaintiff, added, “I want to raise my family in the country, not next to an event center and tourist stop. I love the fresh air and quiet evenings. I love knowing all my neighbors. All that will be lost if the alleged cannabis tourism operation at 334 Purvine Road continues.”

Attorney Kevin Block of Block & Block LLP is representing the plantiffs. “None of my clients is against legal cannabis,” he said. “But illegal cannabis, and cannabis tourism, are a different kettle of fish. Illegal operators must be shut down in order for legal operators to succeed. And the ban on cannabis tourism should be kept in place until the County can thoroughly study its detrimental neighborhood and environmental impacts.”
Block & Block LLP
Kevin Block