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Family friendly?

Thursday, Sep 19, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Greg Hinz at Crain’s

Mayor Lori Lightfoot [yesterday] doubled down on her opposition to allowing stores that sell cannabis products downtown, indicating that in her view pot stores more properly belong in outlying neighborhoods.

In questioning after today’s City Council meeting, the mayor said that while keeping shopping streets such as Michigan Avenue “family friendly” is on her mind, she’s more concerned with ensuring that the new wealth the legalized sale of recreational-use marijuana will create gets distributed fairly across Chicago.

Um, the city’s neighborhoods aren’t “family friendly”? Also, every time I’ve walked down Michigan Avenue in the past few years, it smelled kinda skunky. Perhaps the mayor might want to take a stroll herself.

And even if you want to exclude the Magnificent Mile, why should the untold hordes of blotto late-night partiers within the proposed “family friendly exclusion zone” on Hubbard Street be shielded from these alleged reefer horrors? It makes no sense. Take their money.

* Sun-Times

The Merchandise Mart, though, falls outside the exclusion zone and presumably would be a possible location for a pot shop.

The Merchandise Mart isn’t family friendly??? Paging Chris Kennedy!

* The mayor’s argument is principally about helping neighborhood communities create jobs and businesses. It’s a strong argument. It will help. Legalization is a net good thing if properly handled.

But Ald. Brendan Reilly told the Sun-Times that making people travel to the Fulton Market area (where families apparently don’t exist) to buy cannabis isn’t about neighborhood equity, as the mayor claims. “It’s simply making [hundreds of thousands of commuters and millions of tourists] travel further outside the central core to access it.” Yep.

* Shia Kapos at Politico

A well-placed City Hall source who’s already gauged interest among aldermen in Lightfoot’s proposal says the mayor doesn’t have the 26 votes needed to pass the ordinance as it’s written.

I doubt, however, that there’s 26 votes to pass anything specific right now.

Whatever happens, the mayor should stop needlessly stigmatizing this soon to be legal product.

* By the way, I instantly thought about former Gov. Pat Quinn when I saw the mayor’s “family friendly” comment. Remember this?

Quinn has said that he worries the 366-acre state fairgrounds in Springfield will become less family friendly if gambling on slot machines is permitted for most of the year, as Senate Bill 744 would allow. […]

But William DiMondi, general manager for the Delaware State Fair, said the casino there has not been a detriment to family fun in Delaware.

I asked at one point if Quinn had ever been to a state fair beer tent at night, because there wasn’t a whole lot of family friendly activity going on.


  1. - Rabid - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 11:51 am:

    Stop hiding behind the children, start explaining to the children

  2. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 11:54 am:

    Only fools prefer prohibition and punishment over profit…it’s legal…take Rich’s advice,take the money.

    As for pot…unlike alcohol and tobacco…it’s most relatively family friendly.

  3. - Anton Cermak - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 11:59 am:

    Would be a missed opportunity to not be able to leverage that Lollapalooza proximity.

  4. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 11:59 am:

    If we want tourist money we need to have lot stores where they congregate. I get the hotels are smoke free, but there’s always edibles. That’s my plan for my trip to Denver next month.

  5. - Shytown - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:00 pm:

    Overall, this is a bad public policy decision. First, I’m guessing hundreds of thousands of suburbanites travel to the loop every day for work. They’re not gonna travel into the neighborhoods before going back home (and before getting on their Metra trains or their cars) to go purchase marijuana. Maybe some will, but not the overwhelming majority, so if the city is a strapped for cash as we all think, why would we leave that revenue on the table? And then there are the tourists. Sure, they are a rideshare trip away from going to a neighborhood location 15 or 20 or 30 minutes away. But why make that option difficult for them when they can spend their money in Chicago and we get to take in that revenue? Maybe you limit the number of dispensaries in the loop so you still lean towards the equity numbers you want, but to exclude it altogether – and try to pass it off as a “family friendly” District - is just…silly.

  6. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:15 pm:

    Agree about helping the neighborhoods and fulfilling the social equity part of the law. But both should be able to be done, neighborhood dispensaries and some stores downtown for tourists and all that revenue.

    The “family friendly” part is still reefer madness and needs to go. There’s plenty of alcohol downtown, but that’s “family friendly” and marijuana, which is less harmful, isn’t?

  7. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:16 pm:

    “First, I’m guessing hundreds of thousands of suburbanites travel to the loop every day for work.”

    Ogilvie and Union Station will both be outside the “family friendly” exclusion zone, on the happy side of the Chicago River.

    Metra: The Way to Really Fly

    – MrJM

  8. - DIstant watcher - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:19 pm:

    Has she seen s dispensary? Positing cannabis and families as incompatible is sloppy thinking on the mayor’s part.

  9. - Moe Berg - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:21 pm:

    Are exclusion zones used in Denver, Seattle, Portland, etc.? If so, how are they working?

    Is pot less “family friendly” than alcohol - available at copious bars and restaurants downtown.

    Less “family friendly” than opioids, Xanax and Viagra, available at numerous pharmacies throughout the central business district.

    Less “family friendly” than cigarettes and cigars?

    Again and again, Lightfoot is operating like the amateur she is. How steep is the learning curve and will she adjust in time?

  10. - the Patriot - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:21 pm:

    Despite the Government telling us there are problems with recreational marijuana for 40 years, they pass a bill saying there are no problems. The bills is riddled with how to deal with all the problems this “drug” creates.

    Now, one of our state’s most liberal politicians says, well we don’t want it in certain spots because of the problems.

    Read the JB press realeases Mayor, there are no problems with legalized pot.

  11. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    “so if the city is a strapped for cash as we all think, why would we leave that revenue on the table?” - Shytown

    That revenue won’t be left on the table…it’ll go directly into Black Market pockets…tax free…and unregulated.

    Cannabis is here to stay…it’s counterproductive to try to hide it away…from paying customers.

  12. - Unpopular - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    It’s never enough.

  13. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:31 pm:

    The Green Rush comes to Chicago…only to be brushed aside?

    This issue deserves more thought…on the Mayor’s part.

  14. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:34 pm:

    “- Unpopular - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    It’s never enough.”

    Did you say you wanted pudding?

    Did you eat your meat?

  15. - Jocko - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:37 pm:

    Lori appears to be channeling her inner Helen Lovejoy.

  16. - Boone's is Back - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:42 pm:

    ===I asked at one point if Quinn had ever been to a state fair beer tent at night, because there wasn’t a whole lot of family friendly activity going on.===

    STOP! What are you doing to the butter cow? Get outta here right now!

  17. - AnitaThrowaway - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    @Grandson of Man & Moe Berg hit the nail on the head. Alcohol is more “family-friendly” than marijuana? Here’s an idea: go tell all the owners of the bars & restaurants downtown that their liquor licenses are no more. Let’s see how much more family friendly the city becomes!

  18. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:51 pm:

    Some people don’t want it in their neighborhoods or towns. More than you think. Don’t know why that gets so deeply under your craw.

  19. - Chris Wetterich - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:52 pm:

    =Remember this?=

    Gov. Quinn’s cognitive dissonance always amazed me. I know he’d been to the State Fair. I saw him booed off the stage one year. But he seemed to not notice gambling on the harness racing or the not-insignificant Illinois Lottery tent.

  20. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:55 pm:

    ===Don’t know why that gets so deeply under your craw. ===

    Silly, fact-free arguments are what set me off.

  21. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 1:05 pm:

    Alcohol and Marijuana are quite different .

    When is the last time you “smelled all of the alcohol” when strolling down Michigan Avenue on a lovely summer day?

    For anyone who has walked down the Las Vegas strip and had to inhale the skunky smell, it certainly detracts from the experience.

  22. - Anon - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 1:11 pm:

    You have to love a city and state that promotes marijuana but demonizes vaping because it might attract kids to smoking. Really??? I bet if they taxed vaping the way marijuana will be taxed it would suddenly become acceptable.

  23. - Roman - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 1:16 pm:

    == every time I’ve walked down Michigan Avenue in the past few years, it smelled kinda skunky. ==

    Same here. I’m 100 percent for legalization, but man, I hate that smell.

  24. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 1:18 pm:

    “Despite the Government telling us there are problems with recreational marijuana for 40 years, they pass a bill saying there are no problems.”

    Some people don’t understand the failure of prohibition and the damage it caused. Can’t recall any proponents or bill language saying marijuana has no problems. Legalization is about moving marijuana from an abysmally-failed system that hurt POC the most to one that we can try to regulate and from which we can gain benefits.

  25. - twowaystreet - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 1:24 pm:

    What a awful argument for exclusion of the CBD. “Where should we have the kid’s birthday party? Why the CBD of course, its reputation for being family friendly is world renowned.”

  26. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 1:28 pm:

    ===the Government telling us there are problems with recreational marijuana for 40 years===

    The government says a lot of things. It’s up to responsible people to inform themselves and not gulp down spoon-fed propaganda.

  27. - Leatherneck - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 1:37 pm:

    - Chris Wetterich - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:52 pm:

    =Remember this?=

    Gov. Quinn’s cognitive dissonance always amazed me. I know he’d been to the State Fair. I saw him booed off the stage one year.

    That was in 2012 during his battle over the AFSCME contract and ongoing pension reform quest:

  28. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 1:59 pm:

    Victoria Secret’s flagship store is on the Mag Mile.

    Family friendly?

    VS is certainly no more family friendly than a cannabis retailer.

    How about Mother’s Pub?

    Definitely not for kids. In fact, you are hard-presses to find many family-friendly dinner joints in the Central Business District.

    Lightfoot is doing no favors to those communities she thinks she is trying to help. By suggesting cannabis stores are somehow anti-family, she is fueling NIMBY’s in the neighborhoods who will fight like heck to keep retailers out.

    My suspicion is she hopes to use the licensing as further leverage to extract money from the state. On the contrary, it’s gonna be tough for her to get anything from Springfield of this is the thanks they get every time they send her a cash cow.

  29. - Roadiepig - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 2:13 pm:

    Rich have you been following the reffed madness here in Decatur ? Yesterday there was a full page ad from the Illinois sheriffs association in the Decatur herald and review with the headline “Opt Out- Don’t make Decatur a drug destination.” It appears that Springfield, champaign-Urbana and maybe Bloomington will all have dispensaries soon so I’m not sure why Decatur would be a special destination , but the thinking minds of the ISA want to single out Decatur to stay a black market haven for drug dealers. Could this have anything to do with wanting to keep the “Howard Buffett gravy train” rolling ? I for one will drive the 35-60 minutes drive to buy legal cannabis, and take my tax revenue with me ( plenty of other nice shopping in those towns besides weed ,too). It’s a repeat of the Hickory Point mall all over again- block having it built in the 1970’s to protect downtown businesses, so they built in Forsyth, so Decatur has been losing tax revenue for over 40 years and counting now.

  30. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 2:16 pm:

    Kids lets all hop in the station wagon and drive on over to the marijuana dispensary grand opening.

    I am sure they will have ice cream, balloons and face painting for everyone.

  31. - West Side the Best Side - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 2:19 pm:

    As I commented on this topic yesterday, Lightfoot wants to focus more on neighborhoods and less on the Loop than previous mayors, but the reporting in Crain’s really makes her seem clueless. The comment about the wealth being distributed across Chicago would lead you to believe that she thinks the money raised in the Loop from gambling and weed will stay in the Loop. Money raised anywhere in Chicago stays in Chicago. What part of the city or what city obligations it gets spent on is up to the mayor and council. Go for where you’re going to raise the most on gambling and pot, which, compared to any other city neighborhood, will be the Loop.

  32. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 2:19 pm:

    Thomas don’t knock Victoria’s Secret.

    If it wasn’t for them lot of those kids would never have been born.

  33. - la dictadora - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 3:04 pm:

    Whenever she opens her mouth it sounds like she hasn’t had a conversation with a single person on her staff or a single person with another point of view. Like she just makes decisions because that’s her assumption and any sort of informed decision (gasp!) is beneath her or would make her feel weak. [Lori: it wouldn’t make you weak, it would make you a leader. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Just ask JB how it’s going for him.]

    I understand scooters and cannabis are two very different things, but they kept those scooters out of the loop and created equity zones. Guess where they mostly ended up…West Loop, Fulton Market and Bucktown/Wicker Park. Please stop hiding behind equity and actually work toward it.

  34. - ChicagoBars - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 3:06 pm:

    Motion to change “untold hordes of blotto late-night partiers“ to “job creating, hospitality tax generating nightlife enthusiasts visiting Chicago from around the world”?

  35. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 3:06 pm:

    ChicagoBars, motion denied.


  36. - Amalia - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 3:18 pm:

    Lori, Lori, Lori, what the heck? this is terrible. and yet another instance where she does not seem prepared. I know she has lots to do, lot of “cases” shall we say, but she’s seeming more and more unthinking. Neighborhoods are family friendly. Also, family friendly for the Loop sounds kinda boring.

  37. - James - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 3:30 pm:

    But it’s OK if we keep the outlying Chicago neighborhoods less “family-friendly”? Even though that’s where most Chicago families live? And by discouraging auto use downtown, she’s turning down all the suburban public transportation users’ and out of towners’ cannibis revenue. The Mayor shoots from the hip a lot; didn’t she just hire a new communications director?

  38. - Maryjane - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 3:36 pm:

    Leafly has an interesting editorial on the subject:

  39. - Enviro - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 3:51 pm:

    Moe Berg @ 12:21 pm:
    ==Are exclusion zones used in Denver, Seattle, Portland, etc.? If so, how are they working?==

    While not all-inclusive, here are the highlights of the places where YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED to smoke pot or consume cannabis products in Washington State.

    In public
    In view of the general public
    At the retail shop where you bought it
    Most hotels and other accommodations
    Lounges, clubs, and bars
    Sports stadiums
    Concert venues
    All ​​federal land, including national parks and national forests
    Some Indian reservation land
    You definitely can’t smoke pot while driving a car, or even when you are a passenger. It would also be asking for trouble to smoke weed in a parked car.

  40. - njt - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 3:56 pm:

    ===When is the last time you “smelled all of the alcohol” when strolling down Michigan Avenue on a lovely summer day?===

    Edibles cover this. Head down Kinzie after 1:00 am and let us know if you still can’t smell the booze.

  41. - Chris Widger - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 4:23 pm:

    ==How about Mother’s Pub?==

    I oppose efforts to ban recreational marijuana anywhere, but for what it’s worth, Mother’s is outside of the proposed exclusion zone.

  42. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 4:31 pm:

    Glad to hear smoking weed is outlawed at concert venues

    I think the only place that is actually true is the Symphony

  43. - Maryjane - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 4:52 pm:

    - Enviro:

    “YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED to smoke pot or consume cannabis products”

    Seriously? In Washington, one is not allowed to consume an edible in view of the general public or at a concert, or at a national park etc.? I don’t see how such a prohibition is enforceable fwiw. Do they ask people, I wonder? Drug test them perhaps as part of the experience of visiting a restaurant?

  44. - Waguespacked - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 4:58 pm:

    Lori also introduced the wrong legislation according to the Chicago Sun Times. Reminds of when her closest ally Scott Waguespack introduced strip club legislation on behalf of Ed Burke in order to protect families.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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