Medical marijuana facility could operate in Holyoke by November (photos) –

HOLYOKE — The city’s first medical marijuana facility could be functioning by November if the City Council grants its expected approval Tuesday.

The Council at 7 p.m. at City Hall will consider a 5-0 recommendation from its Ordinance Committee in favor of granting a special permit to GTI Massachusetts NP Corp. to run a medical marijuana cultivation and processing facility at 28 Appleton St.

With even the plan’s most vocal critic, Council President Kevin A. Jourdain, pledging a yes vote, based on the special permit holding to GTI Massachusetts to certain conditions, Council approval would trigger immediate movement.

“My understanding is that ‘if/when’ they get approval from the full City Council, they’d be able to complete predevelopment tasks (construction blueprints, getting building permits) by mid-summer and complete the build-out by the fall, with a target start of growing operations in October or November,” said Marcos A. Marrero, director of the city Planning and Economic Development Department.

GTI Massachusetts officials have said the company will put $8 million into planning and building the medical marijuana facility.

Councilors and business leaders praised the plan for the 25 to 30 jobs the facility would provide in its first year and 100 jobs over three years. Entry level wages would be $14 an hour with room for advancement.

The company also is negotiating a host-city agreement with Mayor Alex B. Morse that will entail yearly payments of $50,000 to $100,000 a year into the city general fund and $15,000 in grants to community groups.

Such medical marijuana facilities are required to be nonprofit in terms of registering with the state, which means the building and land are not subject to taxation but the equipment in such a facility can be taxed.

Putting it all into action will begin within days if the Council grants

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