CHICAGO — Pot shops will be allowed in much of Downtown after the City Council on Monday voted for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s overhaul of the city’s cannabis zoning rules.
The City Council voted 33-13 in favor of the mayor’s ordinance, which aims 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.
The approved pot ordinance is a tweaked version of Lightfoot’s original proposal. The amended version aims to significantly reduce the number of buildings eligible to be built out as a pot shop