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City Council Approves Marijuana Shops' Deals With Springfield

The Springfield, Massachusetts, City Council on Monday night approved host community agreements for what would be the first non-medical marijuana shops in the city.

Before greenlighting the agreements, councilors asked the four marijuana businesses what they’d contribute to the community. Representatives of the proposed shops mentioned things like partnerships with local colleges and equity in hiring.

“We’re actually giving priority to those that were previously impacted by cannabis prohibition,” said Payton Shubrick, chief executive of marijuana company 6 Brick’s LLC. “[We’ve] committed to hiring 51 percent from the city of Springfield.”

All four businesses are also committing to pay the city 3% of their annual earnings.

The businesses must now receive special permits from the city, and approval by the state Cannabis Control Commission.

Councilors paid little attention during their meeting to Mayor Domenic Sarno’s demand earlier in the day for an apology. He’d taken offense when councilors raised questions about the application process for marijuana companies.

Despite the hiring requirements and payments to the city, some at the meeting objected to the deals, including minister Charles Stokes of the Hope Under God Life in Christ Ministry in Springfield.

Stokes said he does not think the companies will give back enough to the community. He told councilors the jobs just don't cut it.

“They don’t want jobs picking marijuana to make rich white people richer,” said Stokes. “If you want to help them, take the community development block grant money, and let them open mom-and-pop marijuana shops, so they can be part of the capitalist society.”

City Councilors will hold special permits hearings on Sept. 24 and Sept. 25.

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