City’s new zoning ordinance represents first steps to ensure cannabis legalization is implemented safely and maximizes economic opportunity across Chicago’s communities
As part of Mayor Lightfoot’s efforts to ensure residents have a voice in the implementation of legalized cannabis sales in Chicago, the Mayor’s Office and the City Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards will host a series of community information sessions next week to gather the public’s input on the City’s proposed zoning regulations for recreational cannabis sales.
“Cannabis legalization offers a unique opportunity to expand equity into our city’s neighborhoods and communities—particularly those that have borne the brunt of the War on Drugs—and listening to community voices is essential to ensuring that process is both fair, safe and equitable,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “By hearing directly from residents, business owners and advocates throughout Chicago about their priorities and the issues that matter most to them, we can work collectively to create a cannabis legalization program that is strong and effective, and creates new avenues of opportunity for our residents that need and deserve it the most.”
The meetings will take place at the following City Colleges of Chicago locations on the North, South and West sides of the city:
- Tuesday, Oct. 8 – Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson Blvd.
- Wednesday, Oct. 9 – Kennedy-King College, 6301 S. Halsted St.
- Thursday, Oct. 10 – Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave.
Each meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. and will include a presentation on the background of State of Illinois legislation that permits the lawful sale of recreational marijuana to adults aged 21 years or older starting on Jan. 1, 2020. In addition, representatives from the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Planning and Development will provide detailed information on the proposed zoning rules that would regulate the locations of recreational cannabis dispensaries in Chicago.
Following the presentations, community members will have an opportunity to provide public comment and submit questions. Each meeting will also be live-streamed on Twitter and Facebook @ChicagosMayor to ensure members of the community who are not able to make it to the meetings are able to watch and listen in real-time.
“Working to develop smart and effective regulations requires input from residents so that we can ensure communities directly benefit from the growth of this new industry,” said 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney, Chairman of the City Council Zoning Committee. “This proposed ordinance will not only create new opportunities for our residents but will ensure Chicago’s health and safety is at the forefront of cannabis legalization.”
Last month, Mayor Lightfoot introduced a new ordinance to establish Chicago’s first zoning regulations for the sale of adult-use cannabis, including requiring all new cannabis zoning applications to be heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals. To ensure equal distribution of dispensaries throughout the city, the proposed ordinance would establish seven zones across Chicago, designed to cap the number of dispensaries in each geographic area.
Additionally, the City’s proposed regulations define distancing requirements to ensure sites are not located near sensitive areas, including restricting adult-use cannabis business establishments from opening within 500 feet of a school.
For more information regarding the ordinance, please visit the Office of the City Clerk Legislative Information Center. The City Council could vote on the proposed zoning legislation as early as this month.