City Holds Community Meetings To Discuss Recreational Marijuana Sales

Jim Gudas
October 09, 2019 - 9:07 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The city of Chicago held the first of three community meetings Tuesday night on where shops selling recreational marijuana should be allowed in Chicago.

Nearly all of the questions at the public meeting at Malcolm X College dealt with how the licenses will be distributed, and in particular, why a large section of downtown won’t be allowed to have recreational marijuana shops largely for security and congestion reasons.

A resident who is blind and deaf said he worried the downtown limits will make it harder for people with disabilities to get to dispensaries.

"There are a lot of people with disabilities who have a very difficult time getting around other areas, besides downtown," he said.

Others wondered why the city put restrictions on marijuana shops downtown when there are already liquor stores in those areas.

"The reasons did not make a ton of sense in light of the fact that there are seven liquor stores and countless bars and restaurants in that area," one attendee said.

Some people who hope to open marijuana dispensaries in neighborhoods outside of downtown worry the restrictions will encourage larger companies that might prefer to be downtown, to look to other parts of the city and compete with smaller vendors.

Recreational use of marijuana becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1.

The next of the three consecutive evenings of community meetings is Wednesday night at Kennedy-King College with the final meeting Thursday night at Truman College.