If the mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts has his way, the city will reinvent itself as a cannabis cultivation hot spot in New England, according to a Telegraph report. Mayor Alex Morse, 27, is encouraging growers to move into the vacant textile mills which take up 1.5 million square feet of space in the town of 40,000, of which nearly a third live below the poverty line.
“One cultivator using 40,000 square feet would create 50 jobs,” he said in the report. “We could be talking about hundreds of jobs for residents of our community.”
In addition to job creation, Morse believes that a thriving cannabis industry would be an economic and tourism boon for the town.
“People already come up in the fall to enjoy the foliage. Adding legal cannabis will do a lot to encourage tourism,” he said.
However, City Council President Kevin Jordan stands opposed to the plan, saying they “don’t want to be known as the marijuana Mecca of Massachusetts.”
Last month, state lawmakers passed legislation delaying the opening of retail dispensaries from January to July 2018, and officials are still developing the rules for the recreational industry. But Morse indicated that negotiations are already underway with at least one producer.