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A social equity exemption in Northampton's marijuana store cap raises concerns

Northampton City Hall in Northampton, Massachusetts.
File Photo
Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com
Northampton City Hall in Northampton, Massachusetts.

A cap on the number of retail marijuana stores in Northampton, Massachusetts, could go into effect soon, though several city councilors have raised concerns about whether a loophole could be misused.

Northampton Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra did not support the cap of 12 stores but it could still have enough votes in the city council to survive her possible veto.

City Councilor Stan Moulton voted for the limit, saying he was concerned about the impact of pot shops on the city's youth.

The ordinance provides an exemption for social equity applicants, who are those who have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs.

Moulton said he remains concerned about the "possibility of having a social equity applicant go through the process, obtain the host community agreement and the license then turn around and sell it to an out-of-town corporate retailer."

The Northampton Mayor's office said it currently has no requests for host community agreements from social equity applicants.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.

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