It’s official—the sale of recreational marijuana in Chicago will begin, as planned, on January 1st, 2020. Today, Governor J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot shot down an attempt by the City Council’s Black Caucus to delay sales of recreational marijuana in Chicago for six months. After a heated debate, the City Council ultimately voted 29-19 to defeat the proposal.
The attempted delay was aimed at providing a greater chance for minorities to own cannabis retail operations and have those businesses be successful. In response to those concerns, the Chicago Tribune reports that Mayor Lightfoot’s staff pressed aldermen hard to oppose the ordinance based on Governor Pritzker’s promises to increase diversity in the cannabis industry. Those promises were apparently enough to swing the vote; Black Caucus Chairman Ald. Jason Ervin, 28th, reportedly felt he had the 26 votes necessary to have the measure approved and delay sales.
While it appears that a fulsome market won’t be in place for quite some time, those willing to wait in long lines will make the first legal recreational marijuana purchases in Chicago on New Year’s Day. Stay tuned to our blog for more developments on Illinois’ recreational marijuana rollout in Chicago and beyond.