Lightfoot fires key pot adviser

“[Paul] Stewart is no longer an employee at the Mayor’s Office. As this is a personnel matter, we will not be commenting any further,” a spokesman for Lightfoot said Tuesday.

SHARE Lightfoot fires key pot adviser
merlin_5625851.jpg

Former mayoral adviser Paul Stewart

Sun-Times file photo

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has fired Paul Stewart, her top cannabis adviser and assistant deputy mayor, though it’s still unclear what led to his ouster.

“Mr. Stewart is no longer an employee at the Mayor’s Office. As this is a personnel matter, we will not be commenting any further,” Pat Mullane, a spokesman for the mayor’s office, said in a statement Tuesday.

A City Hall source told the Sun-Times that Stewart was “shocked” when the news came down Monday that he was fired. Stewart didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

He officially began his tenure in the administration as the state’s prohibition on pot was lifted in January, according to his LinkedIn page.

La Voz Sidebar

Lea este artículo en español en La Voz Chicago, la sección bilingüe del Sun-Times.
la-voz-cover-photo-2.png

But Stewart was already serving as a cannabis policy adviser in the months before that milestone, when Lightfoot’s plan to ban all cannabis sales in much of the Central Business District came under heavy fire and the Black Caucus threatened to delay recreational pot sales over the lack of minority ownership in the nascent industry. Stewart also helped oversee Lightfoot’s controversial cannabis lottery in November, which broadly determined where the city’s first recreational shops could open.

The announcement of his firing comes just three days after the Zoning Board of Appeals rejected a proposal for a new recreational pot shop near the Gold Coast during a marathon 12-hour meeting. A source said that decision had nothing to do with his ouster.

Ald. Brian Hopkins, who formally opposed the location in his 2nd Ward, acknowledged that PharmaCann’s application was “controversial and politically charged.”

“Paul Stewart was in the hot seat and throughout he conducted himself with unwavering professionalism at all times,” added Hopkins.

Stewart previously served as a consultant and later joined the Chicago Police Department in 2018 to help coordinate initiatives related to the implementation of the ongoing federal consent decree that was put in place following the killing of Laquan McDonald.

The Latest
The White House on Wednesday will officially announce Biden’s intention to nominate April Perry to be a U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of Illinois. For months, the effort to confirm Perry as Chicago’s new U.S. Attorney was stalled by Sen. J.D. Vance, a Republican from Ohio.
Stacey Greene-Fenlon became the first woman and first person not connected to Chicago government to chair the Chicago fishing advisory committee on Thursday.
Nutritionists say the general trend of consumers seeking out healthier beverages is a good one. But experts also say people should be cautious and read ingredient labels.
The beloved South Side blues club will kick off its long-awaited return with two shows featuring John Primer and the Real Deal.
Sports leagues benefit from two technical points that allow collusion.