Chicago mayor wants to prohibit rec cannabis stores downtown

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Chicago’s mayor wants the city to ban recreational marijuana stores in the central business district, a move that could hurt sales downtown.

The bans are in zoning rules proposed this week by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat.

The “exclusion” zones also would prohibit adult-use MJ sales within 500 feet of schools and in residential neighborhoods, according to a press release.

But the mayor’s plan already is facing opposition.

Alderman Brendan Reilly, who represents the business district in the city council, said because of an $838 million budget gap Chicago can’t afford to declare its central business district off-limits.

He added a limited number of downtown stores are needed.

Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar said a downtown “exclusion zone” is justified because of its high density of business and tourists.

Illinois recently awarded its first licenses to businesses to sell recreational cannabis starting Jan. 1.

Existing medical marijuana operators are getting the first crack at the market.

Lightfoot also said in the news release that the city will be working with community members, businesses and others to ensure “legalization not only creates new revenues for our city, but also unique opportunities for entrepreneurs from communities victimized by the war on drugs.”

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– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily