* This is an interesting development…
A statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Illinoisans:
“Equality Illinois is proud to endorse SB 7, the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act. LGBTQ people use cannabis at more than double the rates of non-LGBTQ people according to data from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health sponsored by the US Department of Health & Human Services. The criminalization of cannabis use therefore disproportionately harms the LGBTQ community. By legalizing cannabis for recreational use by anyone over the age of 21, SB 7 has the potential to reduce the number of LGBTQ people caught up in Illinois’ criminal justice system.”
“We are strongly encouraged by the bill authors’ attempts to put racial and restorative justice at the heart of SB 7. Communities of color, including LGBTQ communities of color, have been disproportionately harmed by cannabis criminalization. A 2013 report issued by the ACLU highlighted that despite roughly equal rates of cannabis usage by white and African American communities in the United States, African Americans were nearly four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis position than white Americans. The current bill places justice for communities of color at the center by seeking an equitable solution to the historic disproportionate impact of criminalization in communities of color by the War on Drugs.”
“We know SB 7 will continue to evolve as the bill authors and supporters seek to lay the foundation of a new legal industry that is good for all of Illinois’ working families. We look forward to continuing to engage as the bill moves through the General Assembly.”
* Always keep in mind that the people who argue for the status quo are in essence protecting an illegal and sometimes violent criminal network from legal competition…
A Naperville man faces felony charges after police say he shot two men during a drug deal late Saturday. Yusuf Syed, 19, of the 200 block of Concord Road, was charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and one count of possession of cannabis with intent to deliver.
Your friendly neighborhood licensed cannabis dispensary owner will not shoot you.
* Not a good look…
Republicans said Tuesday that it’s unlikely any member of the GOP will even consider voting to legalize marijuana, so long as its includes the Black Caucus’ priorities — including a robust expungement program — that they aren’t prepared to support.
* More from Hannah’s story…
Senate sponsor State Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) told The Daily Line Tuesday that Welter’s complaints — or the complaints of any other lawmaker who doesn’t appreciate the devastating effects that cannabis prohibition has had on black and brown neighborhoods — belies his lack of understanding of the equity issue the Black Caucus and other progressives are fighting for in bill negotiations.
“I do not understand how we can legalize and normalize the use of a product and then give rich people in suits the ability to participate in an activity that has destroyed whole communities,” Hutchinson said. “I don’t understand how you can look at one of those things and not see the nexus for the other…how is it that you think this is not connected or worth talking about. And frankly, believing it’s not worth talking about says more about the person making that statement than the issue at hand.”
Hutchinson also said she didn’t buy the Republican line that the governor’s office was choosing to turn away from Republican votes on the bill in favor of Black Caucus votes.
“It’s a false choice,” she said. “I don’t accept that choice.”
House sponsor State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) agreed, calling it a “false dichotomy,” adding that it’s also “premature” for Republicans to take a stand on a bill that hasn’t even been finalized yet.
Yep. A new draft is coming. Everybody should just chill out for a minute.
* The sponsors say this will be fixed as well…
Since its inception, the Illinois medical marijuana program has been shrouded in secrecy, with the government denying requests for information about who owns the grow houses and dispensaries.
Lawmakers had said they would rectify that issue when it came to legalizing marijuana for recreational use — but the proposed law appears in part to maintain secrecy for organizations applying to operate retail pot stores.
On page 150 of the 533-page bill, the measure states that all application information for adult-use dispensing organizations, down to their addresses, is exempt from the state Freedom of Information Act and “not subject to disclosure.”
All complaints and investigations of the retail stores, except for criminal records, also would be kept secret under the proposal.
The passage seems to conflict with a later section governing licensed cannabis businesses, which states that all cannabis business applications to the state are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
Looks like a drafting problem.
* Other stuff…
* Medical marijuana growers would get first shot at retail market in Illinois under proposal to legalize recreational sales: Cresco Labs more than doubled the amount of marijuana it could grow at its Joliet facility last year and has construction underway to do the same at its Lincoln facility. It also added technology and automation to make its products consistently on a large scale for a recreational market, spokesman Jason Erkes said. Bedford Grow has four grow rooms at its cultivation facility in Bedford Park, each with a layer of cannabis plants. But a space currently used for storage could be converted into eight more grow rooms, said Paul Chialdikas, vice president of sales and marketing. It could further increase capacity in each room by going vertical and adding layers of plants. Given all the expansion underway, Chialdikas said a shortage is unlikely. Still, operators will have to prove they can meet demand.
* 5 things you didn’t know were in the Illinois weed bill: 1. No drive-through dope. Dispensaries shall not operate drive-through windows or cannabis vending machines, the legislation says. (They also cannot operate a dispensary if its video-surveillance equipment isn’t working, nor can they have fewer than two people working at the dispensary at any time while the dispensary is open.)
* Lynn Sweet: My visit to a retail cannabis store in Los Angeles: Lots of products, hipster vibe