US (MA): Holyoke reduces buffer zone for cannabis growers near schools

Marijuana cultivators will have more options for setting up shop in Holyoke following a unanimous vote of the City Council on Tuesday.

Councilors voted 11-0 to reduce the buffer zone between marijuana cultivation facilities and prekindergarten through grade 12 certified schools from 500 feet to 200 feet.

A 500-foot buffer remains in place for marijuana processing, retail and other operations. The amended ordinance measures the buffer zone from a school’s lot line.

Any school that lies 200 to 500 feet from a proposed cultivation facility must be notified in writing of any public hearings tied to special permits. The school principal and superintendent must also receive written notice via return receipt.

Ward 2 Councilor Terence Murphy said two Main Street building owners near Morgan School fell just inside the 500-foot buffer, the Baustein Building and the former Holyoke Machine Co.

Murphy said both buildings attracted interest from the marijuana growing and cultivation industry. The Baustein Building can lease up to 40,000 square feet of cultivating space.


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