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Downtown “Compassion Lounge” Expected to Create Over 900 Jobs

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By Milton Inskalop

A planned medical marijuana dispensary and adjoining hookah lounge is expected to create over 900 jobs in New Bedford, officials said today. The “Compassion Lounge,” to be built at the site of a vacant lot on Union Street, will virtually eliminate unemployment in the city, according to overjoyed city and state officials.

“This facility has even more potential than a casino” said City Councilor Jane Alves, a major supporter of the proposal. “It will create new jobs for bud-tenders, hookah lighters, marijuana sommeliers and many other new trades.” But even more job growth will come from the indirect impact, Alves said. “Medical marijuana will give people the munchies, and that will mean more customers for downtown shops and eateries.”

The planned development, by South Coast Herbal Caregivers, LLC, of Marion, will feature an area in which patients can smoke from hookah pipes while awaiting marijuana prescriptions to be filled. The lounge area will include large TV’s, a deejay and sound system.

The facility had previously sought to set up in Marion or Fairhaven but zoning moratoriums forced it to locate elsewhere. New Bedford officials welcomed it with open arms.

“I’m very excited to welcome this new development to downtown New Bedford,” said Diana Coehlo of the New Bedford City Council. “This has the potential to revitalize the entire downtown area.”

Even Police Chief David Provoster spoke in support of the facility. “I’m cool with it,” Provoster said. “It’s a legal business and I think people have to stop fearing reefer madness.”

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