Grow, Gift, Repair

Local Hiring Requirements in Holyoke?

Ward 2 Councilor Nelson R. Roman said during the Ordinance Committee meeting Tuesday at City Hall he wished he could require that half of all such positions go to residents.

Ward 3 Councilor David K. Bartley also asked that such companies give preference to city residents for jobs, suggesting they hire retired Holyoke police officers for security.

“All across the board, when you come before me as a councilor … I’m going to put for stronger hiring provisions,” Roman said.

“I do want to see stronger provisions, like my colleague is saying,” he said.

Councilors can urge that a company seeking approval to do business here hire residents, but hiring cannot be made a requirement in order to obtain such approval.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission respects municipalities’ authority to develop bylaws or ordinances, and encourages them to work with lawyers, a spokeswoman said.

A “Guidance for Municipalities” document on the commission website doesn’t address directly whether local hiring can be made a condition of obtaining approval to do business.

“The Commission encourages municipalities to carefully consider the impact of the particular marijuana establishment proposed for a community, as well as benefits it may bring in local revenue and employment, when negotiating a host community agreement,” the document said.

The comments of Roman and Bartley came as the Ordinance Committee considered three proposals:

Canna Provisions Inc. wants to open a recreational marijuana dispensary at 380R Dwight St. with about 20 employees.
East Coast Pharms wants to operate a dispensary for medical and recreational marijuana at 630 Beaulieu St. with 22 employees in its first three months and 28 by the end of the year.

Holyoke Gardens LLC is proposing a recreational marijuana cultivation business at 5 Appleton St. with 15 to 25 employees by the end of its first year.