City Council Black Caucus Takes Issue With Rollout Plan For Legal Recreational Marijuana In Chicago

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CBS News

Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois next year, but on Tuesday, what seemed like a routine City Council Zoning Committee vote was suddenly blocked when the Black Caucus demanded a closed-door meeting.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), the chairman of the Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus, has called for recreational marijuana sales in the city to be postponed until July 1 of next year, so that “more equitable solutions” from the industry can be found.

The caucus said under the current plan presented by the Department of Planning & Development will allow 11 existing businesses to use their current sites to begin selling recreational marijuana in the first year of legalization. The same 11 businesses will be given an opportunity to open a second recreational site in the spring – before any new businesses even get a change to bid, the caucus said.

None of the owners of the existing 11 businesses is African-American, the caucus said.

The caucus said on Wednesday, it plans to introduce an ordinance that would put sales on hold for six months in Chicago. The caucus will hold a news conference Wednesday morning.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s current plan splits Chicago into seven zones, with a maximum number of stores selling recreational marijuana in each. The purpose of the City Council Zoning Committee meetings had been to vote on the plan.

The plan bans sales in most of downtown Chicago and within 500 feet of a school. Under Illinois law, existing medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to sell recreational pot.

The debate Tuesday night lingered into the evening hours and is set to reconvene at 9 a.m.

Recreational marijuana officially becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1 of next year.

This article originally appeared on CBS News.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I was a heroin addict back in 2000. I hit rock bottom and thankfully recovered and now live a sober life. During the time I was using heroin I met several drug dealers who were black. These dealers were loaded. Each owned a fleet of vehicles that were tricked out with every expensive unnecessary add-on, they owned a new pair of Nikes for each day of the month. They made serious bank. You can’t tell me there are no successful black black market drug dealers in Chicago. You can’t tell me there aren’t successful black marijuana dealers operating in Chicago’s black market, who have the money to open a legal dispensary. These dealers simply don’t want to switch from black market to a legal market.

    When I would see those dealers (some were easily on their way to being millionaires) I thought to myself how they were selling death to their own communities, had the funds to help the community but instead were parasites.

    This is why the black caucus wants decriminalization instead of legalization, to protect the successful black dealers who refuse to join the legalization effort. Its not because black dealers don’t exist. They most certainly do. I even support it over legalization, but lets just be HONEST.

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