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Springfield city councilor wants AG to review pot store selections

 Springfield, Massachusetts, City Councilor Justin Hurst
The Republican/Masslive
Springfield, Massachusetts, City Councilor Justin Hurst

A Springfield city councilor wants the Massachusetts attorney general to investigate how the city chose its recreational marijuana retailers. That's after an audit found deficiencies in the process.

The city auditor, Young No, said some documents used to score applicants could not be located. No also found that one applicant, who potentially would have been approved to open a pot shop, had been scored incorrectly and was left out.

City Councilor Justin Hurst requested the review.

"We need to do better," Hurst said. "It also opens the city up to lawsuits on the fact that this individual was denied a host community agreement, who should have received one.

In a memo, Springfield City Solicitor Ed Pikula called the auditor's claim that an applicant had lost out on a slot "somewhat misleading." Pikula said his office could not confirm a scoring error had occurred. Even if it had, he said, the awarding of the agreements is at the mayor's discretion.

Hurst said he wants the city to release the scores of all the applicants. Mayor Domenic Sarno could not be reached for comment.

The office of Attorney General Maura Healey has no immediate comment.

The auditor will present his findings to a City Council committee on Tuesday.

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Before joining New England Public Radio, 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. Working with correspondent Morley Safer, he reported from locations across the United States as well as from India, Costa Rica, Italy, and Iraq.
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