Chicago’s City Council approved a zoning ordinance that bans recreational marijuana stores from the central business district but allows them to locate in part of the popular River North area downtown.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot initially had proposed a ban covering nearly all of downtown, but she recently had a change of heart that unlocks some business opportunities for the area.
The vote came despite ongoing concerns by the Council’s 20-member Black Caucus that African Americans aren’t being provided enough opportunities in the upcoming adult-use cannabis industry, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
For example, the caucus said African Americans aren’t represented among the owners of the medical marijuana dispensaries that would get a head start in Chicago when recreational sales begin Jan. 1.
For her part, Lightfoot has stressed that the city wants to ensure adult-use marijuana legalization not only creates new revenues but also provides opportunities for entrepreneurs from communities hurt by the war on drugs.