Sonoma County Takes on Take Back

Sept. 14, 2017

On Sept. 12, the Sonoma Board of Supervisors held a new hearing on take back ordinance options for the County. At the Board’s last hearing on the subject in October of 2016, it had directed staff to begin drafting an ordinance for drug take back while also researching the potential need and possibility of including the disposal of sharps into the legislation.

The County staff then toured every locality throughout 2017 to promote extended producer responsibility (EPR) and the County’s pursuit of an ordinance. At the end of that process, staff determined there was unanimous support for overall drug take back legislation and a strong consensus for the inclusion of sharps. Of note, while all Cities in the County supported an ordinance on drug disposal generally, the City Council of Santa Rosa took a strong position against the possible addition of sharps disposal in any legislation.

During this month’s hearing before the Board, County Health Officer Karen Milman gave an update on the drafting process and an overview of the community discussions. She then sought direction on next steps for staff from the Board while providing a recommendation for the pursuit of take back legislation which included sharps.

While no formal vote was taken at the Board meeting, the Board gave its direction through a straw poll of its Members. This straw poll of 3-2 directed staff to move forward in drafting an ordinance and to include both the disposal of drugs and sharps. Of the 2 minority votes, both were interested in a drug take back ordinance, while one was interested in supporting the sharps inclusion but asked for more data to support the sharps inclusion. The staff stated they would bring more data and a draft ordinance including both drugs and sharps to the Board in the near future.

CLSA testified before the Board on behalf of our industry’s perspective and to clear up several misstatements made by the County.

CLSA will continue to be at the forefront in Sonoma County and anywhere these local discussions occur. For more information, please contact Reese Isbell, CLSA’s Director of Local Government and Community Relations (