Marijuana consumption ordinance vote delayed again
“We continue to receive helpful feedback on our proposed consumption ordinance,” mayoral press secretary Anel Ruiz wrote in an email to the Sun-Times.
Three days after claiming she had the votes, Mayor Lori Lightfoot Monday called off this week’s City Council showdown on her plan to create licensed places for on-site consumption of recreational marijuana.
“We continue to receive helpful feedback on our proposed consumption ordinance,” mayoral press secretary Anel Ruiz wrote in a late-afternoon email to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“In order to take that into account, we have opted for a short delay in moving our proposed ordinance forward.”
The License Committee was scheduled to meet at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday to consider the consumption ordinance that aldermen refused to approve last week because of rigid state rules that tie the city’s hands.
African American aldermen were concerned the mayor’s plan to limit consumption-on-premises licenses to retail tobacco stores that derive 80% of their revenue from the sale of tobacco-related products will pave the way for a new wave of drug arrests targeting their constituents because there are only 42 free-standing smoke shops in Chicago, none of them on the South and West sides.
Downtown aldermen said their constituents also don’t like the idea that the state is allowing consumption licenses and dispensaries to operate in the same building.
That could allow dispensaries to become.what Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) calls a “party magnet” with problems that “spill out onto the street” just like a “problem” bar.
On Friday, Lightfoot said the feedback she received from aldermen would be “taken into consideration.” But she argued that “we have to move forward” and promised no changes.
On Monday, top mayoral aides said Tuesday’s committee vote and final approval by the full Council on Wednesday would be postponed indefinitely.
Last week’s committee hearing underscored the fact that there are “still many questions about how on-site consumption will be permitted,” mayoral aides said.
“It is our understanding that additional changes are anticipated to the state’s consumption rules,” a City Hall source said.
The source noted that the Lightfoot administration is “actively working to implement additional changes to other cannabis-related regulations” after steady pushback from African American aldermen demanding a piece of the pie.