Doug Kerr

Holyoke, Massachusetts Mayor Alex Morse has vetoed a moratorium on the recreational cannabis industry approved by the City Council, according to a MassLive report. In a letter to the council, Morse argued that the “only thing” the ordinance would do “is put the city at an economic disadvantage by dissuading interested investors” from considering starting their business in the town.

Morse, 28, has envisioned the cannabis industry providing jobs in Holyoke, encouraging cultivators to move into the vacant textile mills which comprise 1.5 million square feet of space.

“A moratorium that extends beyond the state’s (April 1, 2018) start date to receive applications will likely jeopardize the ability of businesses to secure licenses in Holyoke well beyond the July 2018 (legal sales) start date,” Morse wrote in his veto letter. “We run the risk of decreasing Holyoke’s competitiveness to attract this industry, decreasing opportunities for good, local jobs and new tax revenue.”

According to the report, Councilor at Large Rebecca Lisi said the city could save time by using the town’s already-established medical cannabis zoning regulations, and Morse agreed with her assessment. The council had voted for the moratorium 10-4, Lisi voted against the measure.

“From a land use and zoning standpoint, there is no difference between cannabis cultivation for medicinal purposes, for which we already have a robust special permit process, and recreational cultivation,” he wrote. “In both cases, the product goes through the same grow and processing cycle regardless of its intended end use.”

Morse urged the council to sustain his veto and, according to the report, the council will likely consider an override during its Sept. 5 meeting.

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