Mayor Lori Lightfoot gets pushback on proposal to regulate Chicago's marijuana dispensary locations | The Crusader Newspaper Group – The Chicago Cusader

(Photo by Marco Jimenez on Unsplash)

By Craig Wall, ABC7 News

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is getting pushback over where she doesn’t want recreational marijuana dispensaries to set up shop in Chicago.

Lightfoot introduced an ordinance Wednesday that would regulate where recreational marijuana can and cannot be sold in the city, once it becomes legal in Illinois starting January 1, 2020.

She wants to keep marijuana dispensaries out of the Central Business District, but that’s seen by a number of aldermen as the prime area to make money off tourists and visitors. The area includes Magnificent Mile, a prime tourist attraction and a major source of revenue for the city.

“The area along our Mag Mile and our parks is incredible important to our hotel and tourism business,” Lightfoot said. “We want to make sure those stay family friendly locations.”

Lightfoot’s resolution would establish seven zones around the city with 13 retail locations in each. The entire downtown area is excluded.

Two aldermen representing downtown said they have issues with the mayor’s zoning restrictions.

“It doesn’t make sense from a revenue perspective,” said Ald. Brian Hopkins, of the 2nd Ward. “There’s no question we would generate the most revenue if we had dispensaries in the downtown area.”

Ald. Brendan Reilly, of the 42nd Ward, said dispensaries don’t have to be in prime retail strips, such as Magnificent Mile or State Street.

“But I do believe there is room for other licenses in the Central Business District,” Reilly said.

The Magnificent Mile Association is taking a “wait and see” approach for now.

Some aldermen are hoping for compromise.

“If we’re talking about raising revenue and raising funds, I would have doubled the fees for licenses in the Central Business District, as opposed to eliminating it totally,” said Ald. Roderick Sawyer, of the

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