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Trying to look on the bright side

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

* Tribune

Recreational marijuana dispensaries would be blocked from opening in parts of downtown Chicago, including the Magnificent Mile, under Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed zoning rules for when the sale of the plant becomes legal next year.

Lightfoot on Tuesday unveiled proposed zoning rules for recreational marijuana dispensaries in the city that would create seven zones across the city. Each zone would have a cap on the number of dispensaries allowed in each. […]

The reason for excluding downtown’s central business district is due to the area’s density and number of tourists, Mayekar said.

“From a public safety standpoint as the industry develops, it was best to exclude that from operations,” Mayekar said. “But there’s plenty of areas within a short walk of the area.”

Trying. To. Stay. Positive. 😬😬😬

* Boundaries from the mayor’s press release…

Oak Street to the north, Lake Michigan to the east, Ida B. Wells Drive to the south and LaSalle in River North and Chicago River in the Loop to the west.

OK, well, there’s plenty of stuff happening west of LaSalle in River North and west of the river further south. And they can even put a shop near the Viagra Triangle north of Oak. There are all sorts of opportunities south of Ida B. Wells as well. So, yeah, not having something handy for the downtown tourists is a bit of a bummer, but I’m really trying to look on the bright side these days. 😐😐😐

* The area’s alderman, however, wants dispensaries downtown, with some limits…


😀😀😀

* On to the Sun-Times

Because public consumption will still be prohibited and most hotels will likely ban it as well, the new rules will leave tourists in the Loop searching for an acceptable place to spark up their legal weed next year.

* I asked the mayor’s office specifically about “social use” provisions and was told this…

In the coming weeks, we will work with the City Council to develop clear guidelines around enforcement as well as onsite consumption.

Mayor Lightfoot’s Sun-Times op-ed references her “licensing for consumption sites” plan, so onsite consumption appears to be a go. That’s a good thing because banning public use means people need places to consume their legal products. 🙂🙂🙂

* Also from the mayor’s op-ed

Furthermore, we are working with the Chicago Police Department to deter overly aggressive enforcement of minor cannabis possession violations, preventing an increase in tickets, fines and arrests.

Let’s hope that works, but I’m not holding my breath. 😶😶😶

- Posted by Rich Miller        

46 Comments
  1. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 9:23 am:

    They have cigar bars, why not a joint bar?


  2. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 9:26 am:

    Gin joints and joint joints.


  3. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 9:34 am:

    They can put dispensaries just outside of the boundaries, for the tourists. There should big money in tourism pot sales. Disappointed that there won’t be a dispensary in Mag Mile, for example, if Lightfoot gets her way—but why quibble when we knocked down a major barrier by legalizing?

    There have to be places to smoke for tourists. It stinks to have to skulk around and spark up in public or hotel parking lots. Good for Lightfoot and anyone else to support smoking places.


  4. - JoanP - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 9:35 am:

    It’s a good thing, then, that University Center is on the SOUTH side of Ida B. Wells Drive.


  5. - No Smoking - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 9:36 am:

    It’s going to be hard to enforce the public consumption statute when one can simply down a cannabis tablet or edible. Not everyone “sparks up” weed to consume it.


  6. - Quibbler - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 9:40 am:

    == Furthermore, we are working with the Chicago Police Department to deter overly aggressive enforcement of minor cannabis possession violations . . . ==

    “Minor cannabis possession” is going to be legal. The whole point is that there’s not anything to enforce.


  7. - Colonel Mustard - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 9:40 am:

    When is DCEO going to put out the Social Equity territory list? It seems like this delay is giving an advantage to social equity applicants who have been arrested or convicted of drug offenses (and who can live anywhere in the state, including posh neighborhoods) over citizens that live in areas disproportionately impacted by the “war on drugs” but who have no criminal drug records.


  8. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 9:40 am:

    Hotels will likely remain pot free. Smoking weed is prohibited in Hotel lobby and public areas and in at least 75 percent of the rooms. All part of State Rep Cassidy’s legislation that states no public consumption would be allowed. The law is harmonized with the Smoke Free Illinois Act.


  9. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 9:43 am:

    The state law prohibits public consumption, so I guess that is not a knock on MLL, but as long as they have that prohibition, the is a strong likelihood the police are not going to enforce those laws evenhandedly. I don’t know if prohibiting pot sales downtown is going to encourage sales is distressed neighborhoods. The possible sales from downtown are either going to border stores or just not going to happen.


  10. - Steve - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 9:43 am:

    Illinois: tobacco bad; marijuana good.


  11. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 9:49 am:

    Elections have consequences, Steve.


  12. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 9:52 am:

    Imagine a pot shop on the Magnificent Mile - architecturally, it could be the same type of store as the new Starbucks - why not? They could add a roof-top smoking area…


  13. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 9:57 am:

    Would like to see canna-cruises on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. It would be great to relax and enjoy the magnificent Chicago skyline or superb architecture along the river. Canna-tourism should be a big focus.


  14. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 10:00 am:

    ===”Because public consumption will still be prohibited…”===

    I work in the Loop and believe me, it may be prohibited but prohibition (*surprise*) is not working. On some days, you can practically get a contact buzz just walking up Wabash. The skunky smell of ganj is ubiquitous on any given day in the Loop.

    Laws that are so at odds with reality probably aren’t going to work as intended.


  15. - Steve - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 10:01 am:

    Rich:

    I’m well aware that elections have consequences . It’s just kind of funny that we are told how bad tobacco is to be around but… now the welcome wagon for weed… at least in some communities.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 10:02 am:

    ===I’m well aware that elections have consequences .===

    … and yet you thought you were so smart bragging you don’t vote making a point.

    The trolling on that line, whew, lol


  17. - Steve - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 10:06 am:

    OW

    If you feel smoking weed or tobacco is a big issue to your life: more power to you. I’m not a smoker.


  18. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 10:06 am:

    “now the welcome wagon for weed… at least in some communities”

    There’s a “welcome wagon” pretty much everywhere in Illinois for tobacco and alcohol, which are legal. What people are saying is that prohibition is bad, like it was for alcohol.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 10:07 am:

    - Steve -

    It only matters how the voters felt. As a voter, if I win or lose on a candidate or an issue, I had my say.

    You’re a victim to your own apathy.


  20. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 10:07 am:

    === Because public consumption will still be prohibited and most hotels will likely ban it as well, the new rules will leave tourists in the Loop searching for an acceptable place to spark up their legal weed next year. ===

    Many tourists will go with edibles or vape pens. You can easily and covertly take a few hits of a vape pen in a restaurant bathroom or even walking down the street without any smell or hardly anyone noticing.


  21. - Steve - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 10:16 am:

    OW

    I’m not a victim . I have no vested interest in smoke in public places.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 10:18 am:

    ===I have no vested interest in smoke in public places===

    Not unlike your take on voting, no interest.

    I fed ya. Troll away, lol


  23. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 10:23 am:

    To the post,

    I’d look at this as a convenience issue more than an access issue, if I’m a bright side person.

    If Ald. Reilly has his way, and once the facilities are up and the locations locked, we’ll get a feel from the free market on the convenience/access issue


  24. - ChrisB - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    @GoM
    ==There have to be places to smoke for tourists. It stinks to have to skulk around and spark up in public or hotel parking lots. Good for Lightfoot and anyone else to support smoking places.==

    If it’s anything like the food truck restrictions, good luck with that.


  25. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    Illinois:tobacco bad;marijuana… legal


  26. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 11:29 am:

    I have a question…suppose I legally purchase twenty grams of cannabis…can I give ten grams to my neighbor…legally?


  27. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 11:40 am:

    “I have a question…suppose I legally purchase twenty grams of cannabis…can I give ten grams to my neighbor…legally?”

    Should be fine if your neighbor is an adult and since it’s 30 grams or less. You would be a nice neighbor.


  28. - Unpopular - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    It’s never enough for the pot heads. They want a pot shop next to every Starbucks and vending machines on every corner.


  29. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 12:30 pm:

    === They want a pot shop next to every Starbucks and vending machines on every corner===

    You say that likes it’s a bad thing /s


  30. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 12:33 pm:

    Weed is already on the corner…pot is legal,Unpopular…you don’t have to like it…but…you will learn to live with it.


  31. - Rabid - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 12:47 pm:

    Public safety standpoint, don’t fear the refer


  32. - Maryjane - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 12:55 pm:

    - Unpopular:

    ” They want a pot shop next to every Starbucks and vending machines on every corner.”

    I’d be satisfied if I could purchase Cannabis wherever alcohol (which kills 88,000/yr/U.S. CDC info) is sold: grocery stores, drug stores, 7-11, gas stations etc.


  33. - Levois - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 1:05 pm:

    “They could add a roof-top smoking area…”

    If it’s not high enough off the ground I can only imagine the smell! :P


  34. - revvedup - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 1:12 pm:

    The “no weed zone” is silly, especially given the commercial and tourist traffic. As others wrote, cannbis is very portable, and it’s not like people won’t be bringing it into the zone anyway. Seems like a revenue loss for no good reason.


  35. - City Zen - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 1:20 pm:

    “recreational sales would be prohibited in residential zoning districts or in any building that contains a residential unit”

    Lots of buildings in Chicago with residential above commercial. Weird that it’s not OK for your building but perfectly fine if it’s in the one-story building next door.


  36. - A Jack - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 1:26 pm:

    Chicago needs money, yet doesn’t want weed or gambling were the big tourist dollars are. I would say “Mayor, you need to develop your own revenue sources before looking to the state to bail you out.”

    You can walk down on the River Walk now and smell weed being smoked. I didn’t see the police rushing in to make any arrests. And I hope the Chicago Police have more pressing matters that require their attention than busting weed smokers out enjoying an evening along the river.


  37. - Out of Contxt - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    Has anybody but me noticed that no one is talking about edibles? That’s the ultimate solution for tourists staying in the Loop and the Mag Mile. And even if sales are banned in the CBD — stupid idea, frankly — tourists (and residents) can hop on the El, take a taxi or Uber to get to the nearest dispensary.


  38. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 3:43 pm:

    As several have pointed out, edibles, tablets etc pretty much solve this problem. While some connoisseurs insist on smoking, many would prefer to avoid smoking it.


  39. - Chippy Dave - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 4:11 pm:

    I would think, just as with gambling, that you would want to target tourists to bring in outside money. Downtown is tourist-town so while locals can spend their money in the neighborhoods, it is not as likely that tourists will leave downtown to partake.


  40. - Actual Red - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 4:25 pm:

    Lightfoot ran in part on paying more attention to areas outside the Loop. Doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to spread the revenue to other areas of the city.


  41. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 4:29 pm:

    ===to spread the revenue to other areas of the city===

    If you can get the tourists to go with their money, fine. If not, you’re not spreading anything around.


  42. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 4:32 pm:

    Previous mayors have focused on the Loop to the detriment of neighborhoods, which Lightfoot has said she wanted to change. But she should be focusing on the Loop for revenue producing gambling and weed. The proposed sites for a casino were ridiculous. What tourist is going to hop on the Roosevelt Road bus to gamble in K Town? Why not a pot shop on Wacker near Ogilvie and Union stations for a commuter to, oh, let’s say Naperville, to buy something for home consumption? In this case focusing on the Loop would be a good thing. Chicago is always boasting about its tourist numbers, here are people with money to spend. (Unless, as has occasionally been suggested, the number of tourists includes everyone who lands at O’Hare and Midway even if they’re just waiting for a connecting flight and everyone who boarded Metra outside the city limits.)


  43. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 4:38 pm:

    Edibles are of course the easy solution to social consumption. But many people like the flowers, our Mother Earth’s bountiful produce. They should have a designated place to smoke, as is being proposed.


  44. - Tim - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 7:13 pm:

    Steve,

    I agree with your earlier post. Tobacco bad , pot good. People are kidding themselves if they don’t believe the folks in Springfield and the Governor would sell their mother in the nearest corner for revenue. And the sad part is they won’t use it to pay past due bills but just so they can go on spending. Tax, spend, borrow, spend, rinse repeat.


  45. - Enviro - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 8:56 pm:

    Tobacco and pot will both be legal in 2020.
    But there is nowhere to smoke them in smoke-free Illinois.
    Let’s keep it that way.


  46. - Robert M Roman - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 6:51 am:

    Since cynicism is a communicable disease, I hate to sneeze here, but… it’s hard not to imagine this as anything but a nod toward alcohol “pushers” who were never on board with weed legalization and toward out of state employers who desire the peace of mind of pretending their employees won’t be inhaling their lunch.

    Sorry.


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