Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Mayor Lightfoot Releases Initial Plan for Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries

In case you missed this story last week, Mayor Lightfoot weighed in on her initial plan for where recreational pot can be sold starting in January 2020 (via Tribune):
Under a plan unveiled by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the city would be divided into seven zones for recreational marijuana dispensaries. Each zone would be allowed up to seven dispensaries, with an increase to 14 in May. Dispensaries would be prohibited, however, from locating in a downtown "exclusion zone" in most of the Loop and Magnificent Mile.

To be clear, this is a starting point and could shift among political pressure:
Recreational marijuana dispensaries would be blocked from opening in most of downtown Chicago, including the Magnificent Mile, under Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed zoning rules for when the sale of the plant becomes legal next year.
But the mayor’s plan could face opposition from cannabis interests that have eyed downtown as a prime location to set up shop and Ald. Brendan Reilly, who said he wants to see dispensaries in the central business corridor to make sure Chicago collects as much cash as possible.
If you see the above, it certainly leaves the Sloop open to some recreational marijuana storefronts:
Under the administration’s plan, each zone will be allowed up to seven dispensaries, which will increase to 14 in May, said Samir Mayekar, deputy mayor for economic and neighborhood development.
“This is about inclusive, equitable growth of a new industry,” Mayekar said. “Really (it’s about) a responsible regulatory framework that enables that equitable growth but also ensures that the city and communities still have some control over how the industry grows.”
Lightfoot’s regulations will create guidelines for zoning approval and include distancing requirements to avoid dispensaries clustered in certain areas. All cannabis zoning applications will be heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals, where residents can comment, officials said.
City rules would bar dispensaries from opening within 500 feet of a school and recreational sales would be prohibited in residential zoning districts or in any building that contains a residential unit, the mayor’s office said. It also would comply with state law and prohibit the public use of cannabis products in public and by people under age 21.

Anyone have any ideas where the first shop will open up?  Printers Row? Wabash/Roosevelt Area?  Motor Row?  Or one of the less busy retail streets in the Sloop?

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