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Do marijuana community impact fees really address impacts? 

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AARON VEGA, director of the Office of Economic Development and Planning for the city of Holyoke, said the money Holyoke collects in community impact fees from cannabis companies will address costs related to the industry. 

So far, Holyoke spent $45,000 of nearly $2 million collected on staff for Vega’s office to review special permits for cannabis companies and deal with cannabis licensing and regulations. The city plans to spend more money this summer and fall on infrastructure, staffing support, and drug education. 

“Every penny collected is in a separate account for the city,” Vega said. “The impact fee will be spent directly on impacts from the cannabis industry.” 

But a new study commissioned by the cannabis industry finds that most communities are not as diligent in allocating cannabis money to cannabis costs. Instead, communities are putting money into general funds, public schools, police and fire costs, and other areas that have little connection to marijuana. Many communities lack transparency about how the money is being spent. 

Continue reading at CommonWealth Magazine.

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