A group of unemployed Chicago, Illinois citizens are seeking to establish a Peddler’s License, which would allow them to sell cannabis legally on the streets like food vendors. On Jan. 22, the group held a rally and a press conference at The Herbal Care Center in Chicago. The group is led by Tio “Mr. Ceasefire” Hardiman, executive director of Violence Interrupters.
While the concept is in early stages, doing so would set a precedent for smaller cannabis businesses in other areas. Hardiman would assist them in their efforts to secure permits to distribute and sell cannabis throughout local neighborhoods. The group called upon Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to step up and assist them in establishing the new type of proposed permits.
“Everyone is promising to direct profits from the sale of marijuana into the communities that have been most impacted by the sale of illegal drugs,” Hardiman said. “Well, these unemployed men and women are saying they can’t wait until that happens. And to be frank, they don’t believe it will happen. History shows those promises are never kept. The licensed cannabis businesses are already making millions of dollars from sales since January 1, and those citizens with the most experience in the industry are still in the streets unemployed.”
Hardiman went on to describe how the situation is dire for disadvantaged communities. “Recent reports show the percentage of black men unemployed in Chicago is 45 percent,” he said.
Local residents also weighed in, to share their support for the idea. “Now that selling weed is legal, we need permits so we can continue to build and grow our businesses just like other legitimate businesses in Chicago,” stated Don Aklin of Englewood. “We need licenses for peddlers. The city provides licenses for those in the food service business to sell meals from their trucks and on the streets. The city does not require street vendors to work in restaurants when they make a living from their trucks in the community. We want the same protections, and we need this help now.”