City Council Approves Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Proposed Zoning Guidelines For Recreational Marijuana In Chicago

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by Todd Feurer, CBS Chicago net producer

CHICAGO (CBS) — Regardless of issues from the Black Caucus that African American enterprises will not get a fair shake when recreational marijuana sales commence in Illinois subsequent year, the Chicago City Council on Wednesday authorized Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed guidelines for exactly where these shops will be capable to open.

The ordinance setting limits on exactly where recreational marijuana enterprises can operate in the city passed by a 40-10 vote.

On the other hand, Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), chairman of the Black Caucus, also introduced a measure to delay the commence of recreational pot sales in Chicago till July 1. That proposal was referred to committee.

The Black Caucus had expressed issues that 11 current health-related marijuana dispensaries would be provided a leg up on beginning recreational marijuana sales with out acquiring a particular permit from the city. That would enable them to commence recreational pot sales months ahead of any person else in Chicago, and Ervin noted there is “zero black ownership” amongst the current health-related marijuana operations in Chicago.

“These 11 enterprises will be provided an exclusive chance with out any person else coming in till late spring,” he stated ahead of Wednesday’s meeting. “The present program provides an unfair benefit to these …there are not any possibilities for black ownership.”

Ervin also stated there are as well quite a few loopholes in the so-known as “social equity” provisions. The alderman stated recreational pot shops whose workers are largely minorities would be provided social equity credit, but there is no requirement for minority ownership. The alderman stated minority ownership is a should for true social equity.

On the other hand, Ervin stated the city should nevertheless place in zoning guidelines for recreational marijuana to make confident the city determines exactly where shops can go. He stated the only limits spelled out in the state law is prohibiting recreational marijuana sales inside 500 feet of schools. Ervin stated the city requires to set guidelines to make confident the shops do not open exactly where the mayor, aldermen, and nearby residents do not want them.

“All of these points get tossed out of the window if we do not pass any kind of zoning,” Ervin stated. “I feel to not have any regulation on this matter will place us in considerably higher jeopardy than we are in nowadays.”

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), who was amongst these voting no on the zoning guidelines, stated aldermen have been missing out on an chance to use their political influence to right blunders in the state law.

He noted that the city’s 11 current health-related marijuana dispensaries would be capable to get up to two recreational sales licenses apiece beginning Jan. 1 with out any particular permit from the city, months ahead of any other enterprises could realistically get a license.

“How do we commence a game currently down 22-? That is a travesty,” Beale stated. “How do we let somebody get a 12-month head commence ahead of any person else can get in the game?”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has stated the state legislature, not City Council, is the appropriate venue for addressing the aldermen’s issues about assuring black enterprises a fair shot at ownership of recreational pot enterprises.

The mayor stated she would perform with aldermen to seek adjustments in Springfield to address their issues about providing minorities a fair shot at owning recreational marijuana enterprises.

Lightfoot stated the city has restricted skills beneath the state’s recreational marijuana law relating to sales, mainly by way of setting zoning guidelines.

“That’s not going to achieve what they want to get achieved,” she stated Tuesday, the day ahead of the City Council vote.

The Black Caucus stated they are prepared to perform with the mayor and the state legislature to make any needed adjustments to state law relating to recreational pot licenses.

“In the finish, we want to see folks that appear like us in this enterprise profit from it,” Ervin stated.

Prior to Wednesday’s vote, the mayor also had amended the recreational pot zoning guidelines to address issues about her program to limit sales in the downtown location. Numerous aldermen had expressed issues that her original program would have hurt the quantity of income the city would see from marijuana taxes.

The original program known as for banning pot sales in the River North location north of the Chicago River in an location bounded from Lake Michigan on the east to LaSalle Street on the west and Oak Street on the north and south of the Chicago River in the Loop location from Lake Michigan on the east to the Chicago River on the west, and south to Ida B. Wells Drive.

The revised boundaries north of the river would extend from Lake Michigan to State Street, alternatively of LaSalle, and the northern boundary would be moved north from Oak to Division. The southern boundary of the exclusion zone would be moved from Wells Drive to Van Buren Street.

Lightfoot’s program splits the rest of the city into seven zones, with a maximum quantity of retailers promoting recreational marijuana in each and every.

The compromise ordinance also would call for any person looking for to operate a marijuana enterprise in regions of the city usually reserved for storefronts to get a city permit and a zoning modify, which would call for City Council approval and give aldermen extra oversight of recreational pot shops.

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