The city of Springfield received 27 proposals from companies and vendors who are looking to start their marijuana business. The largest city in Western Massachusetts started accepting proposals over a month ago. While cannabis business still remains illegal in surrounding suburbs, retail sales of recreational marijuana are happening for months in Springfield. Unlike medical marijuana, the moratorium on retail stores was active until the end of 2018.
The original number of companies that applied was 19, but the city gave a 48-hour extension of the deadline. Due to this deadline extension, 8 more companies applied for a total number of 27. The reason for the extension was a confusion about the deadlines and issues with the website.
Deputy Procurement Officer Theo G. Theocles said that there is a lot of work until the end of the first round of selections in June. Theo is also part of the review committee that will be in charge of evaluating proposals.
Because of the suburbs’ moratoriums on marijuana business, the city of Springfield believes there will be a significant market for marijuana retailers. The original deadline was the 20th of May, and 12 public locations came into consideration for this purpose. Among these locations were old Macy’s store, an empty bank building, storefronts, and others. There are around ten locations that have not yet been revealed or confirmed. Springfield representatives will most likely reveal these locations in the next few weeks. The city decided to cap the maximum number of stores at 15. Furthermore, the number of location was restricted to 58 streets.
The potential marijuana stores are required to get prior written permission from the City of Springfield. In addition, states Cannabis Control Commission will perform an inspection before publicly opening the stores. Each of the marijuana establishments will need to execute a Host Community Agreement with the city.
Because of the length of the whole process, submissions, and permissions, the city’s CFO announced that they will not include any estimated value in the city budget. Naturally, this refers only to marijuana sales and will count for the entire fiscal year starting July 1st.
The City of Springfield plans on collecting 3 percent tax on every retail marijuana sale and a 3 percent annual levy on each store’s total revenue. One-third of the tax money they collect, the city plans to invest in neighborhoods that suffered some kind of impact during the time when marijuana was illegal.
Part of the applying process was to hold community meetings, and the first one happened a month ago. With recent the casino opening in the South End, seven marijuana companies proposed moving into the neighborhood. As you can imagine, the residents were not enthusiastic. Some of the locals expressed real frustration. It won’t be an easy task for companies to find a way to win them over. We will have to wait and see what will happen during the next few months. Until the end of the selection process, there will be a representative from each of the companies trying to appeal to the neighborhood.