The sound of job creation and revenue was more attractive to the opposition in Holyoke regarding marijuana. GTI Massachusetts NP Corp. received a special permit allowing it to operate a medical marijuana cultivation and processing center. The vote was unanimous.
Operations may be up and running as soon as November, according to Mass Live. Up to 100 jobs may be created according to Peter Kadens of GTI Massachusetts. Those opposing “government sanctioning” of marijuana couldn’t ignore that the city needs the revenue and jobs.
Councilor at Large James M. Leahy said, “I am totally against medical marijuana and also recreational marijuana. However, it’s coming, and I can’t fight 14 other people. I’m going to vote for this for one reason and one reason only, the business side of it…I’m going to hold my nose.”
The Council President, Kevin A. Jourdain, opposes marijuana as much as Leahy does. He chose to agree to allow the special permit contingent upon nine conditions.
Jourdain, who supports the Special Permit because of the following inclusion, said, “This Special Permit is for medical marijuana only not recreational marijuana. This Special Permit is for an RMD that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes (including development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfers, transports, sells, distributes marijuana and products containing marijuana at 28 Appleton St. are all pursuant to applicable Stateand regulations. Any requested change to this scope of permitted uses at the RMD will require a new Special Permit from the Holyoke City Council.”
He also said, “I would have been screaming at the top of my desk.”
Councilor at Large Howard B. Greaney Jr. said, “Holyoke needs the dough. Ward 1 and Ward 2 need the dough.”
A majority of the councilors agree that GTI Massachusetts should “be welcomed as an economic development boost for the city”.
A host-city agreement with Mayor Alex B. Morse is in the works. Yearly payments of $50k to $100k would be placed in the city’s general fund. In Wards 1 and 2, $15,000 would be available in grants for community groups.
In its first year, GTI Massachusetts plans to employ up to 30 people and within 3 years expects to increase its workforce to 100 people with an entry-level wage of $14-per-hour.
Councilor at Large Peter R. Tallman said, “It’s all around a good proposition for the city. The main thing that sold me was the jobs and the type of jobs.”