Tired of waiting for African-Americans to get their fair share of Chicago’s recreational marijuana business, a pair of City Council members are taking matters into their own hands.
Alds. Leslie Hairston (5th) and Roderick Sawyer (6th) want companies seeking to open new cannabis dispensaries in Chicago within 1,500 feet of existing dispensaries to provide “certified evidence” every year that they are, indeed, “social equity” applicants.
That’s a designation created by the state to try to diversify the lily-white weed industry. While the state already has a detailed process to determine who qualifies, the two want to take it further after some of the initial finalists for social equity licenses turned out to be deep-pocketed and with strong connections to political insiders and existing industry.
“We are just making sure that the licenses go to the social equity applicants, who are the ones that are supposed to be benefitting from this,” Hairston told the Sun-Times.
“That’s what it’s for. It’s for social equity. … That hasn’t happened in two years,” she said, referring to the long wait social equity applicants hoping to open dispensaries have endured while the state attempts to fix the problem. “ … It’s never too late.”