The City of Holyoke has enthusiastically embraced the cannabis industry as an economic engine and has created a standard process for cannabis businesses interested in doing business in Holyoke. Read about the benefits of operating in Holyoke below.

To increase transparency and eliminate uncertainties for operators, a standard Host Community Agreement (see link below) applies to all operators. Below are some helpful document links for cannabis businesses interested in opening in Holyoke. Please review the documents carefully to become familiar with the licensing and permitting process.

Documents and Links for Local Licensing & Permitting

Benefits of Operating in Holyoke

Holyoke is a community that offers the best competitive advantage to the cannabis grow and manufacturing business in the state. We’ve enthusiastically embraced the industry as an economic engine and offer a low-cost profile for operations. Some of the benefits that grow operations will find in Holyoke:

Utilities

Holyoke has a municipal Gas & Electric Company (www.hged.com), which owns the dam off the Connecticut River, the downtown canal system, solar energy and other non-carbon entitlements. Taken together, Holyoke offers the lowest industrial energy rates in Massachusetts and one of the lowest in all of New England. Costs savings for the marijuana industry are estimated at 47%. Holyoke Gas & Electric also offers up to 20% discounts for the first three years of service to any new business locating in Holyoke. We also own 5 water reservoirs that provide millions of gallons of excess water capacity every day.

Real Estate

There is a surplus of vacant mill space to the tune of over 1 million square feet within several buildings in the zone that allows for cannabis growing and manufacturing. There are also a few sites still available for new development if desired. Our real estate prices are some of the lowest in the state.

Standard Host Community Agreement

In order to increase transparency and eliminate uncertainties for operators, we are using the same Host Community Agreement with all operators. Please see the Host Community Agreement link above.

Broad support

57% of residents voted in favor of the marijuana ballot question, higher than the 53.7% support statewide. Mayor Alex Morse was the first mayor – and for a while the only one – to publicly and forcibly come out in favor of the marijuana ballot question in the state. Holyoke was one of the first municipality to adopt a comprehensive recreational/medical marijuana zoning ordinance in the Commonwealth. It was approved unanimously by the City Council.

Zoning

The Holyoke City Council approved a zoning ordinance in December 2017, which allows cannabis uses in the “General Industry” zone (IG). See the zoning ordinance here and the Holyoke Property Map Viewer here.

Precedent, clustering and workforce

GTI, one of the nation’s leading cannabis growers has an operating medical facility at 28 Appleton Street. They expect to hire around 100 people in the next year. We have 7 other companies lining up to secure permits. Western Mass is already a leading region for manufacturing in the state. As the City becomes a center for growing, processing and making cannabis products, we should be offering the most qualified workforce to the industry in all of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission

Visit the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) website for information on the state license process. Please note that proceeding with the City of Holyoke processes for a cannabis license does not guarantee that the CCC will license your business. Applicants are responsible for submitting all the required documentation to the CCC. A community outreach meeting is part of the CCC process, which is the responsibility of the applicant to coordinate. The City of Holyoke and its employees are not able to provide consultation on how to proceed with the CCC.

Contact

Contact the Office of Planning and Economic Development for questions or more information.

  • Phone: 413-322-5655
  • Email: oped@holyoke.org