Panel Votes To Delay Recreational Weed Sales In Chicago

Chicago City Hall
By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A City Council committee approved a measure Tuesday that would delay sales of recreational marijuana until July, amid criticisms that none of the city's dispensaries are owned by minorities.

Recreational cannabis for adults becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1. Mayor Lightfoot's administration was anticipating revenues for the city budget, but some black City Council members have expressed frustration about a lack of participation by businesses owned by people of color. The state law authorizing recreational sales gives deference to existing medical marijuana distributors. 

"This was a huge step forward in getting the attention across the country that you have to include people of color that have been affected by this product," said 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale, a member of the council's Black Caucus.

Lightfoot allies say delaying recreational pot sales -- and the money they would bring into city coffers -- will have unintended consequences that may end up harming people.

Mayor Lightfoot agrees more minorities should have a role in the burgeoning marijuana industry -- and reap some of the benefits.

The full City Council was expected to consider the measure Wednesday.