NEW BEDFORD — The New Bedford City Council approved a Host Community Agreement with ARL Healthcare Inc in a unanimous vote Thursday night. The agreement will allow the healthcare company to operate a marijuana cultivation and processing facility in the New Bedford Business Park.

City Councilors approved the Host Community Agreement with a 10-0 vote in its final passage through the council chambers. It has been approved and reconsidered a number of times by City Council since the agreement was reached in December between ARL and Mayor Jon Mitchell.

City Councilor Hugh Dunn spoke with WBSM News about the unanimous decision by City Council and says that the monetary benefits that come from allowing ARL to operate a facility in the city are what got his vote. The Ward Three Councilor also pointed out that ARL's facility will only cultivate and manufacture the marijuana, which will be distributed to dispensaries for retail.

"It seems to be a revenue generator, its not near residential, creates jobs, and its not a dispensary. You're not going to have people showing up to purchase marijuana," Dunn said.

Ward Five Councilor Kerry Winterson explained that the opportunity for employment open to New Bedford citizens from ARL's facility was a factor of the deal that drew City Council and himself to the approval.

"ARL coming in here to this city, creating jobs. They're going to look for New Bedford residents to hire which is obviously a big incentive for the Council. The Council has always been there basically to help with New Bedford residents with being employed." Councilor Winterson said.

The decision by City Council comes just a day following Mayor Jon Mitchell's weekly appearance on WBSM, where he ridiculed the indecisiveness of the Council on the matter and questioned their objection to ARL operating out of the Business Park, saying "these days, nothing the City Council does surprises" him.

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