MA: Retail Marijuana Businesses Limited To Industrial Zones In Holyoke Proposal

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Ron Strider

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Establishing a retail marijuana firm would require a $500 fee and a special permit from the City Council and the business would be confined to general industrial zones, under a City Council committee's recommendation Tuesday.

The full City Council will vote whether to adopt the Ordinance Committee's proposal at 7 p.m. on Nov. 21 at City Hall.

The five-page proposal spells out regulations over the cultivation, processing, testing and sales of marijuana. If adopted, the ordinance means that the city won't need to impose a local moratorium on such businesses.

A local moratorium has been a point of debate among councilors and between some councilors and Mayor Alex B. Morse, who said existence of a statewide moratorium on retail marijuana businesses makes a local one unnecessary.

They also argued that imposition of a local moratorium even could harm the city in trying to attract the economic development benefits -- jobs, tax revenue -- of such businesses who could choose to locate in cities without the obstructions of such a moratorium.

The argument in favor of a moratorium, preventing such businesses from opening temporarily, is officials needed time to establish rules to regulate such companies.

"We move forward and let's see how it all turns out," said council President Kevin A. Jourdain, a member of the Ordinance Committee.

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