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West Springfield lifts cannabis business ban

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The town council in West Springfield, Massachusetts, has voted to allow cannabis-related businesses. The approval this week comes four years after the board banned them.

On Monday councilors approved up to three adult-use retail marijuana stores in West Springfield.

Mayor Will Reichelt pushed for the change. He said one selling point was many of the negative impacts the council was concerned about in 2018 did not come to fruition in neighboring communities.

"It's shown not to drive a negative demographic to a community, not to impact home values, not to drive traffic concerns, crime, any of those things, and it doesn't increase youth use," Reichelt said.

Some councilors opposing the change instead wanted to give residents a chance to vote on it next year. That would have required more than 2,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

"It's the right thing to do," said City Councilor Michael Eger prior to the vote. "I encourage my other councilors to consider voting against this and give the voters a chance to make a decision in an open election."

Reichelt said the town will soon take requests for proposals for two of the licenses and hopes the retailers will open in about a year. He estimates West Springfield could realize a million dollars a year in tax revenue.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.