CHICAGO — Pot shops could soon be allowed in much of Downtown, but a vote on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s overhaul of the city’s cannabis zoning rules was delayed Tuesday at City Council until next week.
Lightfoot introduced the ordinance in July in an effort to reduce the cost and time to open a pot shop and other cannabis businesses in the city to lure the next round of dispensary license owners to Chicago and avoid losing them to the suburbs.
The current rules saw the city lose out on businesses and tax revenue during the first round of dispensary licensing, said Will Shih, a cannabis advisor to Lightfoot. More than 100 companies hold a provisional dispensary license to open in Chicago, but their license allows them to set up shop in the suburbs instead.
For the first time, the new round of license holders will include companies majority-owned by Black and Brown entrepreneurs. Those budding companies may have less access to capital than the many large multi-state operators that currently operate in the city, Shih said.
But a vote on the ordinance was blocked on Tuesday by two frequent Lightfoot critics, Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) and Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), who used a procedural maneuver to delay a vote until the next meeting of the City Council.
During a Zoning Committee meeting last week, Lopez and Beale said the city should wait to loosen up its cannabis rules until state legislators take another stab at ensuring more minority-owned companies can enter the industry.
City Council will now take up the proposal on Monday, when Lightfoot will also present her 2022 budget to aldermen in a planned speech.
The pot ordinance to be presented for a vote is a tweaked version of Lightfoot’s original proposal. The amended version aims to significantly reduce the number of buildings