Springfield City Council Delays Opening of Recreational Marijuana Shops | Connecting Point

Springfield City Council Delays Opening of Recreational Marijuana Shops | Connecting Point


>>>COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE
COMMONWEALTH ARE WEIGHING WHETHER THEY WANT RECREATIONAL
POT SHOPS OPEN, OR NOT, ON DAY ONE, JULY 1ST. THERE’S LOTS OF BACK AND FORTH
ABOUT WHETHER BUSINESSES WILL HAVE EVERYTHING THEY NEED IN
TIME TO SELL BY THAT DATE, INCLUDING THE PROPER PERMITTING
AND ACTUAL PRODUCTS TO SELL. MEANWHILE, THERE ARE CITY AND
TOWN LEADERS WHO WANT MORE TIME TO DEVELOP THE RULES THAT WILL
GOVERN ADULT-USE MARIJUANA STORES IN THEIR COMMUNITY. SPRINGFIELD IS THE LATEST TO
PRESS THE PAUSE BUTTON ON POT. I SPOKE WITH CITY COUNCILORS
ADAM GOMEZ AND ORLANDO RAMOS ABOUT THE
COUNCIL’S UNANIMOUS DECISION. .
>>WELL, THE MORATORIUM WAS A RECOMMENDATION FROM THE STATE
CANNIBIS COMMISSION. THEY RECOMMENDED THAT
MUNICIPALITIES PUT IN PLACE A MORATORIUM TO ALLOW FOR
REGULATION AT THE LOCAL LEVEL. IT’S A VERY IN DEPTH
CONVERSATION THAT WE HAVE TO HAVE HERE, ABOUT HOW WE ARE
GOING TO REGULATE THESE ESTABLISHMENTS AND THAT’S NOT
SOMETHING THAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN OVERNIGHT. WE ARE GOING TO NEED SOME TIME
TO LOOK AT BEST PRACTICES AND SEVERAL OPTIONS, SO I THINK MY
COLLEAGUES SAW THIS WAS GOING TO BE A MORE COMPLICATED PROCESS
THAT WE INITIALLY THOUGHT, AND SO WE ALL BELIEVE THAT IT WAS
BEST TO PUT IN PLACE A MORATORIUM TO GIVES A LITTLE BIT
OF TIME TO GET THIS THING RIGHT.>>THE MORATORIUM IS IN PLACE
UNTIL SEPTEMBER. WHEN THE PLANNING BOARD LOOKED
AT THE ISSUE THEY HOPED THERE WOULD BE A MORATORIUM UNTIL
DECEMBER. WHY DID YOU DECIDE ON THE
SHORTER WINDOW?>>AT THE SUBCOMMITTEE LEVEL, WE
SPOKE TO PLANNING AND TO LEGAL, OUR SOLICITOR, AND SOME
COUNSELORS WANTED A SHORTER MORATORIUM, BUT WE BELIEVE THAT
THE VOTERS HAD SPOKEN, AND WE WANTED SOMETHING THAT WE COULD
— WE THOUGHT THAT WOULD BE ENOUGH TIME SO THEN WE CAN AT
LEAST PUT THIS INTO LEGISLATURE, BUT TO BE ABLE TO RESPOND TO OUR
CONSTITUENCIES. WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR
CANNIBIS QUITE AWHILE. WE HAVE GOTTEN NUMEROUS CALLS.>>THERE IS A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO
HAVE POSTED ON LINE OR I HAVE HEARD FROM IN PUBLIC WHO SAY
VOTERS APPROVED THIS IN NOVEMBER OF 2016. WE’RE COMING ON TWO YEARS HERE. YOU ARE DRAGGING YOUR FEET ON
THIS ISSUE, THAT PEOPLE ARE FRUSTRATED. ARE YOU HEARING THE
FRUSTRATIONS?>>WE HEAR IT, BUT WHAT’S
IMPORTANT I DON’T THINK THE CITY COUNCIL IS DRAGGING THEIR FEET. ON A STATE BOARD ON MARCH 15TH,
THAT’S WHEN THE COMMISSION REGULATIONS CAME OUT, SO
BASICALLY OUR HANDS WERE TIED. IT’S NOT LIKE WE COULD HAVE
OPENED THESE RECREATIONAL FACILITIES UP WITHOUT —
>>WAITING UNTIL JULY 1ST IS THE FIRST TIME THAT RECREATIONAL
MARIJUANA FACILITIES WILL EVEN BE ALLOWED TO OPEN THEIR DOORS
THROUGH THE PERMITTING PROCESS.>>ONLY 75 OF THEM WITHIN THE
STATE.>>IF THE CITY HAD BEEN LOOKING
AT THIS ISSUE FROM DATE OF PASSAGE YOU COULD BE READY TO GO
JULY 1ST I THINK IS WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING.>>I THINK WITH THE GUIDELINES
THAT WERE RELEASED PEOPLE WEREN’T UNDERSTANDING THERE IS
NINE DIFFERENT LICENSES YOU CAN ACQUIRE, AND THE CITY I BELIEVE
IS DOING THEIR DUE DILIGENCE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE GET THIS
RIGHT.>>SO LET’S LOOK AT NUTS AND
BOLTS. SPRINGFIELD IS NOT ALONE HERE,
LET’S BE CLEAR ABOUT THAT. SO HAVE YOU GIVEN ANY THOUGHT TO
WHERE YOU THINK SOME OF THESE FACILITIES MIGHT BE EITHER
RESTRICTED OR ALLOWED?>>SO THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT WE HAVE TO LOOK AT AND THAT’S WHY WE NEED A LITTLE BIT
OF TIME TO LOOK AT SOME OF THE BEST PRACTICES ACROSS THE STATE
TO GIVE US SOME BASIC GUIDELINES WHERE THEY CANNOT BE LOCATED
WITHIN 500 FEET OF A SCHOOL, THAT SORT OF THING. WE WANT TO LOOK AT WHETHER WE
WANT TO RESTRICT THAT EVEN MORE. IS IT NECESSARY TO RESTRICT THE
NUMBER OF ESTABLISHMENTS THAT WE WANT IN THE CITY? BECAUSE THE STATE LAW ALSO
ALLOWS FOR MUNICIPALITIES TO RESTRICT THE NUMBER OF
ESTABLISHMENTS. THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS THAT WE
HAVE TO CONSIDER. AGAIN, THAT’S ONE OF THE REASONS
WHY WE NEEDED THIS MORATORIUM IN PLACE.>>WHAT ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY
ISSUES? THAT’S ANOTHER THING WE HAVE
HEARD ABOUT IN OTHER COMMUNITIES. ANY THOUGHTS ON THAT THUS FAR? I KNOW YOU ARE AT THE BEGINNING
OF THIS, BUT YOU MIGHT HAVE PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON THIS.>>I WOULD SAY THAT WE HAVE
ALREADY BUILT A PUBLIC SAFETY PLAN WITH THE HEALTH AND HUMAN
SERVICES. THEY CREATED A BOARD WHEN IT
CAME TO MEDICINAL, AND MOVING FORWARD WITH PLANNING I THINK
CREATING THESE AGREEMENTS WITH SOME OF THESE RECREATIONAL
FACILITIES THAT — WITH COMMISSIONER BARBIERI, AND SOME
YOU ARE OUR OTHER OFFICIALS, WE CAN CREATE SOME AWARENESS, THAT
SOME OF THESE BUSINESSES WOULD APPLY WITH WHAT IS IT THE
COUNCIL AND OFFICIALS ARE LOOKING FOR CONCERNING WITH
PUBLIC SAFETY.>>THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
WE ALSO HAVE TO CONSIDER IS THAT WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS IS GOING
TO LOOK LIKE ONCE THESE ESTABLISHMENTS BEGIN TO OPEN. WE MIGHT SEE THAT DOWN THE ROAD
WE MIGHT HAVE TO MAKE CHANGES TO OUR LOCAL REGULATIONS, AND SO IN
TERMS OF PUBLIC SAFETY THE STATE LEGISLATION ALSO ALLOWS FOR
MUNICIPALITIES TO PUT IN PLACE A HOST COMMUNITY AGREEMENT WITH
THESE ESTABLISHMENTS AND WE CAN PUT LANGUAGE IN THERE TO ASK FOR
A 3%, IN ADDITION TO THE SALES TAX. THOSE WILL BE DIRECTLY TIED TO
WHETHER OR NOT THERE WILL BE AN INCREASE NEED FOR PUBLIC SAFETY
OFFICIALS TO MONITOR THOSE FACILITIES.>>WHAT ABOUT THAT, LOOKING AT
WHAT THE PERCENTAGE OF THE TAX MIGHT BE? THERE IS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
OPPORTUNITY FOR THE CITY, TOO, AND I KNOW YOU ARE ON THE
SUBCOMMITTEE. HAVE YOU BEGUN TO LOOK AT HOW
THIS MIGHT POSITIVELY IMPACT THE BOTTOM LINE FOR THE CITY?>>WELL, HONESTLY THERE IS
PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITY WHEN IT COMES TO RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA. LIKE I SAID THERE IS NINE
DIFFERENT POSSIBILITIES THAT SOMEBODY CAN ACQUIRE A LICENSE
TO BE ABLE TO MANAGE A BUSINESS, OR A TYPE OF DIFFERENT BUSINESS
UNDER RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA. SO, YOU KNOW, WE ARE LOOKING AT
THAT AS ECONOMIC BOOM. IT BRINGS JOBS, THESE DIFFERENT
FACILITIES. BUT WHAT TYPE OF FACILITIES CAN
WE OPERATE WITHIN THE LEAGUE LEGALITIES WITHIN THE
MUNICIPALITY? SO IT WOULD BE CAFÉS, A POT SHOP
THAT IS JUST DOING THINGS OF THAT NATURE. RIGHT NOW WE WANT TO MAKE SURE
THAT WE ARE USING THE STATE GUIDELINES TO BETTER CRAFT
SOMETHING THAT IS GOING TO BETTER SUPPORT THE VOTERS AND
THE PEOPLE THAT WANTED THIS IN THE CITY OF SPRINGFIELD.>>WHAT ABOUT INDIVIDUAL
BUSINESS OWNERS? THERE ARE A FEW PEOPLE WHO HAVE
COME FORWARD AND SAID WE KNOW WE HAVE A MEDICINAL FACILITY THAT’S
LOOKING TO OPEN QUITE SOON IN SPRINGFIELD. HAVE YOU HEARD FROM OTHER
BUSINESS OWNERS THAT HAVE SAID THEY ARE INTERESTED TO GET INTO
THIS AND HAVE THEY STARTED A DIALOGUE WITH ANY OF THE COUNCIL
MEMBERS THAT YOU ARE AWARE OF?>>I BELIEVE THERE IS CERTAIN
INDIVIDUALS THAT KIND OF OPENED THESE I GUESS PLACES WHERE YOU
CAN BUY THINGS TO BE ABLE TO USE THE RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA AND
THEN SOME OF THEM HAVE THE IDEA THAT THEY WOULD WANT TO BE —
GET INVOLVED WITH THAT TYPE OF BUSINESS. BUT IF THROUGH THE STATE, IF
THEY HAVEN’T –>>PROCURED THE LICENSE YET,
WHICH JUST OPENED UP AT THE BEGINNING OF APRIL.>>RIGHT. SO THEN THEY HAVE SOME TIME TO
MAKE SURE THAT THEY FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES, BUT THERE IS ONLY
ABOUT 119 THAT ARE REGISTERED AND KNOWN BY THE STATE TO BE
LOOKED AT AS POSSIBLE PEOPLE TO GET THOSE LICENSES THAT ARE 75
THAT ARE GOING TO BE ISSUED THIS YEAR. IF YOU HAVEN’T ACQUIRED YOUR
LICENSE FOR A MEDICINAL CLINIC, BECAUSE THAT’S ALSO A
STIPULATION, THAT MEDICINAL FACILITIES ARE GOING TO BE THE
FIRST ONES TO KIND OF GET THIS LICENSE BECAUSE THEY ARE ALREADY
IN THE BUSINESS OF DISTRIBUTING MARIJUANA ON A MEDICINAL LEVEL,
SO THIS RECREATIONAL LICENSE MIGHT COME TO THE MEDICINAL
CLINICS FIRST AND THEN FROM THERE AND SO ON. SOME OF THESE FOLKS WOULD V. —
HAVE TO WAIT PROBABLY ANOTHER FISCAL YEAR TO GET THEIR LICENSE
BECAUSE THEY ARE ON A SECOND TIER TO ACQUIRE THIS LICENSE.>>WHERE DOES THE COUNCIL GO
NEXT TO MAKE SURE YOU MEET THE DEADLINE?>>I HAVE TWO ORDERS ON THE
APRIL 9TH CITY COUNCIL MEETING THAT ARE RELATED TO MARIJUANA,
OR ADULT-USE MARIJUANA AS WE ARE CALLING IT NOW. ONE OF THEM IS THE EXCEPTION OF
OR AN ORDER TO ACCEPT THE 3% TAX THAT WILL COME BEFORE US ON
APRIL 9TH, AND WE ALSO HAVE TO MAKE SOME CHANGES TO OUR CURRENT
ORDNANCE THAT TALKS ABOUT TOBACCO SMOKE, TO INCLUDE
MARIJUANA. THAT WILL BE BEFORE THE CITY
COUNCIL ON APRIL 9TH AS WELL.>>THANKS FOR COMING IN.>>THANK YOU.

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