Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced an ordinance that will break up the city into zones that can or cannot sell cannabis.
According to ABC 7 Chicago, Lightfoot announced her plans on Sept. 18, but is experiencing resistance regarding which areas of the city will allow cannabis businesses once the plant becomes legal in 2020.
Specifically, she wants to keep cannabis out of the Central Business District, which has upset many who claim that it is a tourist-heavy area and one of the main money-making centers for the city. “The area along our Mag Mile and our parks is incredibly important to our hotel and tourism business,” Lightfoot said. “We want to make sure those stay family friendly locations.” This new regulation would break the city into 13 retail locations where cannabis would be allowed.
Some people also view closing off the Central Business District as a missed opportunity for collecting income from taxes. “If we’re talking about raising revenue and raising funds, I would have doubled the fees for licenses in the Central Business District as opposed to eliminating it totally,” said Ald. Roderick Sawyer.
However, Lightfoot defended her choice, claiming that money isn’t the most important factor in this case and that there are other issues to consider. “Again, we want to do it in a way that from the very beginning focuses on equity and expanding whatever economic opportunities there are to our neighborhoods and not just concentrated in the downtown area,” she said.
Chicago is currently ramping up for legal cannabis in a big way. The former Chicago Tribune publisher has even joined the industry and back in 2018, there were already pipe dreams of legalizing cannabis and opening a casino. Despite this hiccup, the future looks bright for the newly legal “Windy City.”