Plans to ease cannabis restrictions in Chicago head to full city council
The Chicago City Council’s Zoning Committee voted to approve a plan that would allow more cannabis businesses in the downtown area.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot presented a plan that would eliminate the city’s cannabis zones and open up more of the downtown area to dispensaries, as part of an effort to bring more businesses to the area, Chicago Sun Times reported.
Shortly after Illinois legalized recreational cannabis use, 110 dispensaries opened in the state. Only 18 of those are located in Chicago. It’s estimated that the city lost more than $13 million in revenue.
In the first year that recreational weed was legalized, the state recorded over $1 billion in purchases.
The previous zoning law allowed for seven cannabis zones in the city, with a limit on the number of dispensaries allowed in each zone. The initial goal was to ensure the dispensaries would be evenly spread out across the city. In addition, the law designated downtown as an “exclusion zone” where dispensaries could not open due to the density of the area and the number of tourists, the Chicago Tribune reported in 2019.