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Afternoon Edition: May 13, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

Michael Malcolm has applied to open a cannabis dispensary in Illinois.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be sunny with a high near 66 degrees. Some showers and a possible thunderstorm are in the forecast for tonight; the low will be around 54 degrees. Tomorrow, expect more rain and thunderstorms as the high climbs to a balmy 70 degrees.

Top story

Lawmakers warn ‘unscrupulous businesses’ are using social equity candidates as fronts in bid to get new pot licenses in Illinois

Fearing that “unscrupulous businesses” could partner with social equity candidates to get a leg up in the competitive application process for licenses to open new pot shops, a group of minority lawmakers are pushing to ensure those applicants profit from partnership agreements and aren’t simply used as frontmen.

While Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Arthur Turner Jr. introduced a bill in February that addresses the issue, he and other legislators have urged Gov. J.B. Pritzker and members of his administration to take immediate action as they evaluate the current crop of applicants for dispensary licenses.

The “schemes” outlined in a letter the lawmakers sent to Pritzker and his cohorts last month sounded eerily familiar to Michael Malcolm, a social equity applicant from Morgan Park who has applied for 10 dispensary licenses.

In November, the real estate broker and pot blogger was first approached by a venture capitalist from Chicago who invited him to a meeting at Trump Tower and proposed an arrangement to partner together on a pot shop.

“They wanted me, I feel, to be like a front for them and for me to put my name down as being a social equity applicant,” Malcolm said. “But I wouldn’t have any real control over it.”

Three months later, he rejected another offer from a cannabis company from Michigan that asked him to partner on a small-scale cultivation center.

“They basically wanted me to put my name down as being the majority owner and then in two years, they take over 80% of the company,” said Malcolm, who declined to provide the names of the companies fearing he may face backlash in an industry he hopes to enter.

“It was a very stressful situation because I was new to it all,” Malcolm said. “And while I wasn’t sure how things were supposed to work, I knew they were trying to take advantage of me.”

Read the full story from Tom Schuba.

More news you need

  1. The Illinois House will reconvene next week at the Bank of Springfield Center to take up the state’s budget and other pressing issues during the pandemic. The special session plan given to legislators says “those who are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19” should consider skipping it.
  2. Homeowners would get a two-month waiver on fees for late property tax bills under a plan unveiled today by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “These are incredibly difficult times for our residents and this measure creates much-needed breathing room,” Preckwinkle said.
  3. Illinois saw its deadliest day yet from COVID-19, with another 192 losing their lives, officials said today. It marks the highest death toll in a 24-hour period since the virus began its spread.
  4. By now you know that many summer festivals, a staple of Chicago neighborhoods, have been forced to cancel or move their event to later in the year due to COVID-19. We’re keeping track of all the cancellations and postponements here.
  5. A pair of local chefs and urban farmers have partnered to deliver hot meals to areas hit hard by COVID-19 on the South and Southwest sides. Manny Ramos talked to chefs Roberto Pérez of Urban Pilón and Fresh Roberson of Fresher Together.

A bright one

Chinese Americans in Chicago donate 1 million surgical masks to city’s first-responders

A group of Chinese American business leaders has donated 1 million surgical masks to first-responders and others in Chicago, saying Chicagoans did the same thing for China when the coronavirus emerged there at the beginning of the year.

“We are grateful to the frontline responders who are risking their well-being to protect Chicago neighborhoods,” said Citadel Securities CEO Peng Zhao, who organized the donation with his wife Cherry Chen.

About 750,000 of the masks are going to the Chicago Department of Public Health, which will provide them to Chicago police officers and other city workers who need them. | File
AP Photos

Zhao and more than a dozen other Chinese American business leaders bought the masks and asked the University of Chicago Crime Lab to help distribute them.

About 750,000 of the masks are going to the Chicago Department of Public Health, which will provide them to Chicago police officers and other city workers who need them, according to the crime lab. More than 500 officers have tested positive for COVID-19, and three have died. About 100,000 masks will go to the Chicago Public Schools. Masks also are being given to nonprofits that work with at-risk youth.

Read the full story from Frank Main.

From the press box

Are the Bears falling behind in the NFC North? Beat reporter Mark Potash digs into the offseasons of the Packers, Vikings and Lions to see whether the Bears’ division rivals have a leg up on the competition entering next season.

Former Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara, meanwhile, has agreed to a one-year contract with Jon Gruden’s Raiders. Amukamara had been cut by the Bears in February to clear salary cap room.

Your daily question ☕

Once the coronavirus pandemic is behind us, how do you think you will have changed?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you to give a shoutout a nurse in your life in honor of International Nurses Day. Here’s what some of you said... Here’s what some of you said…

“Shout out to my friend Kristen Johnson. She works on the frontlines every day taking care of our most vulnerable, the elderly. She does this tirelessly. She’s in the fight against COVID-19 and she’s a hero to me.” — Ashana Jones

“My Aunt Mary Main! She put herself through nursing school while raising five boys. She is an Emergency Room nurse, and one of the best!” — Cheryl Main McGarry

“My awesome niece Jill Trzaska. She is a nurse on the stem cell oncology floor at Northwestern.” — Janet Trzaska

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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