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Marijuana

Cannabis is a growing industry in Chicago and Illinois. Here's our comprehensive coverage, from the legalization of recreational marijuana to cooking with cannabis.

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Divided City Council relaxes zoning requirements for marijuana sales

Six days after two of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s most outspoken City Council critics used a parliamentary maneuver to delay the vote, alderman approved her plan to help minorities who have been shut out of the so-called "green rush."

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For Black entrepreneurs, the dream of opening a pot shop remains just out of reach

While state officials have named the winners of 185 upcoming pot shop permits, a court order that’s blocked their issuance has continued to place those who were supposed to benefit from legalization in an indefinite limbo state.

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Feds issue warnings about ‘diet weed’ as Illinois lawmakers try again to crack down on hemp derivative

The federal agencies reported this week that 119 people were hospitalized after ingesting products infused with Delta-8 THC over the past year.

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City Council stalls mayoral plan to relax marijuana zoning restrictions, shrink downtown exclusion zone

Aldermen Anthony Beale and Ray Lopez used a parliamentary maneuver to delay the vote until the next Council meeting. Lightfoot promptly set that vote for Monday’s special meeting, when she plans to introduce her 2022 city budget.

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Marijuana use among U.S. college students hits record high during pandemic, study finds

The National Institute on Drug Abuse also found less alcohol use among college students as they navigated the COVID pandemic.

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Plan to open up marijuana sales downtown, ease cannabis zoning rules sent to full city council

New zoning rules aim to make Chicago more attractive to weed businesses. Of the 110 operational dispensaries in Illinois, 18 have opened in Chicago.

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State admits errors in pot shop lottery process, will now hold another one

Toi Hutchinson, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s senior adviser on cannabis control, said Friday "clerical oversight" led to some groups having less chances than they deserved in drawings during the first dispensary lottery.

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New pot shop permits still in limbo as state prepares to announce final list of winners this week

During a Zoom hearing Wednesday, Judge Moshe Jacobius didn’t address his standing order holding up the lucrative licenses as he advanced two related lawsuits challenging the problematic process.

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Illinois’ pot shop lotteries are finally over, but licenses remain in limbo

A Cook County commissioner, a pair of NBA veterans and a host of existing players in the weed game all scored licenses during Thursday’s drawing.

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Pot shop applicants sue state, claiming they were wrongfully ‘forced’ to give up lottery spots

"It doesn’t make sense how they can delay a year and a half and come back more incompetent than when we started," Britteney Kapri, who’s partnered in one of the suing firms, said of the state’s licensing efforts.

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New pot greenhouse touted during ground-breaking in Matteson

"This project will provide over 500 jobs, ranging from construction to operation." Matteson Mayor Sheila Chalmers-Currin’s said of 4Front Ventures’ planned cultivation center.

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Cook County judge says ‘it’s very possible’ pot shop licensing process will have to be ‘redone’

"Everybody then would be subject to just another application process or another lottery, who knows what," said Judge Moshe Jacobius, who has already held up the formal issuance of the next round of lucrative dispensary permits.

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Pot licenses still in legal limbo, but judge allows final lottery next week

A hearing Monday left a lawsuit over the process to award new marijuana business permits unsettled but allowed for an Aug. 19 lottery for dispensary licenses to take place.

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Longtime TV news anchor Robin Robinson, NBA vets Iverson, Harrington among winners of pot-shop permits

Robin Robinson, a local Fox anchor for decades, is a member of The Homecoming Group, which scored a permit in the Chicago region. Her daughter, Jade Williams, said the group’s concept is to support causes such as adult literacy and STEM education.

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Some pot license winners now looking to sell to highest bidder

State law doesn’t prohibit the new licensees from unloading for millions of dollars and potentially "giving it away to the white boys again," one critic said.

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Clout, cops and a ‘Very Cavallari’ castmate: Here’s who just won weed licenses in Illinois

The state announced the winners of 79 licenses to grow, infuse and transport marijuana products this week. Officials touted that 67% of the winners identify as nonwhite and 83% qualified for social equity status.

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53 pot shop lottery winners announced, including some new players, some with deep ties to existing industry

The winners include Ricky Hendon, the former state senator who had served as an advocate for jilted applicants last year. His company, Westside Visionaries LLC, scored a highly sought after license in a region that covers Chicago.

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Jackpot: Hundreds of firms now vying for permits in cannabis dispensary lotteries

If all goes as planned, Thursday’s drawing will mark the beginning of the end of a lengthy imbroglio that has marred Gov. Pritzker’s first term in office.

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Michigan firm drops suit that threatened to derail pot shop licensing process again

The dispensary licensing rollout has long been stymied by delays, litigation and protests from minority applicants who criticized the grading process and railed against the clouted and well-financed firms that have qualified to win permits.

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New lawsuit could upend state’s problematic pot shop licensing process — again

Sozo Health, a Michigan-based pot firm that applied for 11 licenses, filed the suit just a day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted a law that seeks to get the long-delayed process back on track.

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Lotteries set to award 185 new pot shop permits after lengthy delays derailed rollout

Officials have also notified the preliminary winners of new licenses to grow, infuse and transport marijuana — the first batch of so-called social equity applicants that are being awarded lucrative cannabis licenses.

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Schumer, Dems unveil plan to legalize weed nationwide; advocate predicts ‘days of federal prohibition are numbered’

Like Illinois’ legalization law, the measure looks to address the disproportionate harms of the drug war and to bolster equity in the overwhelmingly white weed industry.

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Could downtown become a ‘pot paradise’ after all?

An ordinance filed Monday would allow new cannabis dispensaries to move into the downtown "exclusion zone" Mayor Lightfoot fought for and has continued to defend.

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Billions in black-market weed still selling in Illinois 18 months after marijuana legalized

The nation’s highest prices for legal pot have kept illegal sales strong — and even raised the cost of a joint on the street in some cases. A lot of the underground bud is coming from California.

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NFL and cannabis: League, union offer $1 million for pain management research

Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer, listed cannabis and CBD as areas the league wants to better understand.

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New marijuana dispensaries are coming to Illinois. Here’s the latest on when and where they might open

An FAQ on a new bill that will nearly triple the number of pot shops in Illinois.

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State urged to start awarding new pot licenses in next 30 days, with hopes shops could open by the fall

The governor’s chief cannabis adviser said issuing the licenses for up to 190 new shops could be done quickly.

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‘Incredibly unfun’ pot industry in Illinois is missing out. Here’s how that could change

"People want to smoke marijuana in places that they couldn’t before because it was taboo and illegal," a cannabis consultant told the Sun-Times. "Just like a bar, just like coffee, this a huge experiential thing."

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Pot equity bill paving way for 185 new dispensaries heads to Pritzker’s desk

State senators passed the bill in a 50 to 3 vote, and the governor announced he would sign the legislation, which attempts to fix Illinois’ recreational cannabis law to bring in more diversity to the cannabis industry.

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Divided City Council OKs expansion of Jefferson Park marijuana dispensary

Ald. Jason Ervin argued the unwritten rule allowing aldermen to call the shots on zoning in their wards is a one-way street: "It seems like … when it come down to Black folks, aldermanic prerogative gets tossed out the window."

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State lawmakers address cannabis licensing, Asian American history, free menstrual hygiene products

Under the House bill aimed at fixing the state’s troubled cannabis licensing system, 110 new licenses would be awarded through two lotteries "targeted toward Black, Hispanic and other minority residents of disproportionately impacted areas."

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‘Medicated Skittles’? Candy giant sues weed sellers for trademark infringement

In federal suits filed this week, Chicago’s Mars Wrigley is asking for millions of dollars in damages and the shutdown of shady websites allegedly peddling counterfeit products.

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Olive-Harvey College breaks ground on hemp greenhouse for cannabis education program 

The college’s urban agriculture program will use the 1,500-square-foot greenhouse to give students hands-on experience in the hemp-growing industry.

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Bill looks to resolve stymied cannabis licensing rollout, add 120 pot shops

"This is driving home the intent of the cannabis law of Illinois," said state Rep. La Shawn Ford. "We want to get to the point of true social equity."

This stream has:

Everything you need to know about recreational marijuana in Illinois

Where can I buy weed? What are the best strains? Where can I smoke? We answered all your questions about recreational marijuana.

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Method Man and Redman next up in Verzuz battle

Amid the alleged East Coast-West Coast rivalry, the duo appeared on "Got My Mind Made Up," a track from 2 Pac’s double album, "All Eyez on Me."