Holyoke City Council talks medical marijuana dispensaries - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Holyoke City Council talks medical marijuana dispensaries

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

The state Department of Public Health is expected to issue a medical marijuana dispensary license by the end of this month.

Cities with proposals for dispensaries, like Holyoke, are still working out how to fit them in.

Holyoke city councilors met Tuesday night and are hoping to be able to tax a dispensary in their city.

"We are in a very difficult position financially," said City Councilor Linda Vacon. 

Under state law, medical marijuana facilities will be nonprofit.

But in Holyoke, which already has a significant amount of nonprofits, they want a dispensary to generate revenue.

"If there is not an agreement and substantial tax revenue coming to the city for a project like this, then it wouldn't otherwise be good for the city at all," Vacon said. 

They're also looking to nearby Springfield to work out potential issues like security and access.

"What I'm hoping to do is to add their draft to our information," Vacon said. 

That would mean putting restrictions on where a dispensary could be built in relation to schools and homes.

Local businessman Heriberto Flores is proposing building a dispensary at a vacant building on Race and Appleton streets.

"Basically this is a business venture," Flores said. 

He says he has no problem paying taxes to the city to create economic growth while at the same time providing what he says is a medical need.

"We are going to pay taxes to the city of Holyoke, we're going to pay taxes to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we are going to pay taxes to the federal government," Flores said. 

After Tuesday's meeting the planning board will make recommendations to the City Council and from there they will decide what restrictions to put on a dispensary.

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