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*** UPDATED x1 *** A totally unnecessary “debate”

Thursday, Dec 19, 2019

* Block Club Chicago

Despite a push by the Black Caucus, recreational weed will be legally sold in Chicago come Jan. 1.

In a dramatic City Council meeting, the ordinance that would’ve delayed recreational weed sales until July 1 was narrowly defeated by a 29-19 vote. […]

When the votes were counted, six Black Caucus members voted against the proposed ordinance they had co-sponsored: Alds. Pat Dowell (3rd), Michelle Harris (8th), Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), Chris Taliaferro (29th), Emma Mitts (37th) and Matt Martin (47th). They were joined by 23 other aldermen. Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Maria Hadden (49th) were absent from Wednesday’s meeting.

This whole thing was completely unnecessary.

* This caught my eye yesterday

Ald. David Moore (17) set the tone for the intense debate by accusing Gov. JB Pritzker of threatening to block projects funded by the state’s $45 billion capital bill in ward represented by aldermen who voted for the ban.

Emily Bittner, the director of communications for Prtizker, immediately took to Twitter to say that assertion was false.

Moore said after the meeting that he had heard the threat “third-hand” and had not directly been warned to expect repercussions by the governor’s representatives. Ervin said after the meeting that his negotiations with the governor’s office were “cordial” and the vote on the ban was never linked to capital bill spending.

C’mon, man. Can anyone honestly imagine Mr. Laid-Back himself foaming at the mouth while screaming into his phone threatening to kill capital projects on the South and West sides if aldermen don’t obey his commands? I’d actually pay to see that.

* Irony from her honor

“I do not think it is wise to poke our governor in the eye,” Lightfoot said [of the Black Caucus]. “Gov. Pritzker is an important ally for the city of Chicago.”

Um, OK. Perhaps she could take her own advice now and then?

* Sun-Times

Some black aldermen said Wednesday they were persuaded by last-minute intervention by the governor’s office with specific assurances that some new medical marijuana licenses would go to social equity applicants. But in a twist late Wednesday night, the governor’s office publicly disavowed any such guarantees. […]

What changed overnight?

A lot of arm-twisting by the mayor’s office and — aldermen and the mayor say — an assurance from Gov. J.B. Pritzker to earmark two of five new medical marijuana dispensary licenses — to be located in Hyde Park and Chinatown — to so-called social equity applicants. […]

“Perhaps the aldermen came to understand that there was a law already on the books that encourages social equity applicants to apply for medical licenses,” Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh told the Sun-Times.

Hilarious.

* The number of aldermen spouting off with uninformed opinions yesterday was quite something to behold…



* My “favorite” part of the debate

Tension only escalated from that point. There were multiple votes to establish whether to vote on the pot delay at all because there was not a consensus on the rules.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th Ward), the sponsor of the ordinance, was speaking on the floor about his support for a delay. Right before he was set to use a procedure to delay the vote until Thursday morning, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward), a mayoral ally, cut him off to use a motion to call for a vote.

“I have the floor sir,” Ervin said to Reilly.

“I thought you were concluding,” Lightfoot said to Ervin.

“We have rules of order,” Ervin said. “I would ask that we all respect the rules of this body …. I mean, to take the floor, it’s just … if you need it that bad, take it.” He then slammed his mic down to his desk.

Ervin could not believe what had just happened to him. He had the floor, he was speaking, there was no timer issue, but he was still shut down. You don’t see that sort of thing on the House or Senate floors. The Tribune would write thundering editorials for decades if Madigan did something like that.

Unclear on the concept

The chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus threatened Thursday to try again to delay recreational marijuana sales in Chicago for six months after accusing Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office of backing off from a commitment made to African American aldermen demanding a piece of the pie.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) said “seven or eight” black and Hispanic aldermen voted against a six-month delay based on the promise they were told the governor’s office made to earmark two medical marijuana dispensary licenses — in Hyde Park and Chinatown — for social equity applicants.

*** UPDATE *** Except, he never made that promise

In an email sent Tuesday to top mayoral aide Samantha Fields, Illinois weed czar Toi Hutchinson made what appears to be a vague promise about the social equity licenses.

“Please accept this letter as my confirmation that we will ensure that the 5 remaining medicinal licenses will not be let until there is proper equity language attached to the rules governing how the licenses can be awarded,” Hutchinson wrote in the email obtained by the Sun-Times.

And other aldermen, including Walter Burnett, are saying it’s no big deal.

…Adding… From the governor’s office…

Statement

The Governor and members of the General Assembly worked hard to ensure that the social equity provisions of the adult-use cannabis effort would also apply to the existing medical industry, including the five medical licenses that have yet to be awarded. The Governor was pleased to expand the social equity application benefits to the medical license process earlier this summer. The ultimate awardees of the medical licenses will be determined through a regulated process, but social equity applicants will receive the same additional points in the medical application scoring that they receive in the adult-use process.

Background

Those who are awarded medical licenses cannot be determined in advance, and must be drawn from the pool of all applicants, according to laws governing licensing.

Two of the five outstanding medical licenses will be awarded to locations in Chicago, according to the state law that established the medical cannabis program in 2013.

The change to the medical application process – adding a social equity component – is currently going through the state’s rule-making process to be finalized.

* Related…

* Cigar shops, hookah lounges and other smoke shops could allow pot use under city proposal

- Posted by Rich Miller        

33 Comments
  1. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:05 am:

    Matt Martin flip flopped? Shocking.


  2. - JS Mill - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:13 am:

    =Moore said after the meeting that he had heard the threat “third-hand” and had not directly been warned to expect repercussions by the governor’s representatives. =

    I didn’t know that the city council also doubled as a CPS High School. This is how high school kids act. I should know, I work in one.


  3. - XonXoff - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:13 am:

    “Everybody’s got a thing
    But some don’t know how to handle it”

    Stevie Wonder


  4. - Amalia - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:20 am:

    think if you are a Chicago City Council watcher that there is much to learn from how the aldermen voted vs. comments made before. If an alderman is in their ward spouting off against a facility and claiming to try and stop it, but not taking the opportunity to vote against all facilities, thereby doing what they claim they want in their ward, that says something. maybe something about control that the Mayor has. Maybe double dealing aldermen. glad the shops can move forward.


  5. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:23 am:

    “Moore said after the meeting that he had heard the threat “third-hand” and had not directly been warned to expect repercussions by the governor’s representatives”

    Apparently there was no documentary or testimonial evidence about potential repercussions


  6. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:23 am:

    The verdict is still out on this. Let’s see in 5 years if there is true minority representation in this industry.


  7. - Jocko - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:31 am:

    Someone should tell Ald. Ervin that both Rauner and Pritzker put money in minority-owned banks. Nothing is stopping Jason from co-signing a loan with some budding entrepreneur.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:33 am:

    Ald. Ervin woulda been better served if he said exactly what he wanted, and Mayor Lightfoot woulda been better served dealing with an actual “ask” and working around her decision to it. It wasn’t bad politics today, just really-really bad people skills by both.

    But, to those politics here…

    The sheer ignorance (it’s not ignorance, Ervin wanted something, but I’ll pretend if Ervin is pretending too) and the re-education of what the state is trying to do isn’t bad politics, for the sake of bad politics, it’s being a phony to try to use politics, bad people skills on display.

    I hope the Food and Beverage Director continues to work with these aldermen so we don’t have this run-up in the coming days ruin people’s buzz.


  9. - Just Me - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:43 am:

    This shows how maddening it can be to lobby Aldermen. They just don’t pay attention to details and whatever belief they have they assume is fact. In Springfield legislators have staff-written analyses that explain to them what they’re voting on, but in City Council it is a free for all. It doesn’t help that each Alderman thinks they are a mini-Mayor.


  10. - Next Gen - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    The rancor seems to be revolving around the fact that the recreational marijuana’s social equity licensing preferences are not explicitly based on race, gender, etc. but nonetheless are likely to produce diverse ownership in the upcoming awards.


  11. - Shytown - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    This was perhaps the most ridiculous and false outcry of city council members that I’ve ever witnessed. Did any of them actually read the bill? Whoever advised them on this should be fired. This is one of the most progressive pieces of legislation every passed into law for crying out loud.


  12. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:48 am:

    == Moore said after the meeting that he had heard the threat “third-hand”==

    So the “aldermanic” thing to do is to repeat that as a legitimate accusation on the floor of the council chambers? This mayor and the city council have all turned out to be a bunch of amateurs. I’d bet cash money that they sit around grumbling about how no one in Springfield takes them or their needs seriously, but for the life of them cannot figure out why that might be the case.


  13. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:51 am:

    “Ald. Ervin woulda been better served if he said exactly what he wanted”

    The first rule when taking policy hostage is to have some demands.

    – MrJM


  14. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:54 am:

    “When the votes were counted, six Black Caucus members voted against the proposed ordinance they had co-sponsored”

    So glad this happened. The expectation was not good before the delay motion went to the floor. It was said somewhere that the delay side had the votes.

    If money from med mar dispensaries opening for recreational sales on January 1 wouldn’t help social equity, it would have been very understandable to want the delay. But that apparently is not the case.


  15. - Too Busy Running for Treasurer - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 10:54 am:

    I’m shocked that Ervin political machine got rolled.


  16. - Anton Cermak - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 11:03 am:

    This debate wasn’t about marijuana. It was about the Black Caucus trying to flex its muscles (and failing miserably) leading into ward redistricting.


  17. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 11:04 am:

    That Jason Ervin a degreed individual with experience in finance could not have designed and implemented a plan for equity participation is shocking! Guess it’s about a platform, attention, and where’s mine.


  18. - Hard D - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    Ervin is just being difficult because the Mayor pulled his wife’s security detail. This was a ploy on his part to show the Mayor who’s who, and now he knows who’who.


  19. - The Captain - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 11:30 am:

    === “Perhaps the aldermen came to understand that there was a law already on the books that encourages social equity applicants to apply for medical licenses,” Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh told the Sun-Times. ===

    Ok but here’s the thing: despite the best efforts of the people involved the 11 licenses awarded in Chicago are all white-owned. That’s not acceptable.

    If you look at the reaction from the Governor’s office and the legislators, as seen above in their tweets, their message wasn’t “we think this is unacceptable and here’s the plan to fix it”, they just lobbed grenades at the city council. They needed better messaging, one that addressed the issue rather than the people.

    A few days ago I thought these renegade alderman were off their rocker, plus I just wanted to see weed legal, but the more I thought about it the more I thought the current status was indefensible and I came to support them using this leverage to force people to take steps to improve this process. Besides, as one alderman mentioned yesterday if the process got improved they could end this six month delay, all people needed to do was come to the table and find a solution, then they could re-vote to end the delay. I’m sorry to see they failed to get the leverage.

    Also, while I think it’s a fair criticism to say to aldermen they could have/should have been in Springfield during the negotiations I also think the reverse criticism is fair. While this critical issue was being debated at City Hall, right across the street from the Governor’s office, the Deputy Gov and Pot Czar were at a press conference on pension consolidation instead of helping to put out this fire at city hall, followed of course by unhelpful tweets. I thought it was a missed opportunity that they could have helped with in-person conversations.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 11:39 am:

    === Also, while I think it’s a fair criticism to say to aldermen they could have/should have been in Springfield during the negotiations I also think the reverse criticism is fair.===

    It’s not.

    Ignorance to what what you’re speaking about, it’s not on the Governor and his Food and Beverage Director to continually, meaning more than once, explain to folks who chose not to actively be engaged in learning what this all means, or what the state did in this instance.

    It’s not a “both sides” thingy.

    Either aldermen want to know, don’t want to know, or are too lazy to know.

    === I thought it was a missed opportunity that they could have helped with in-person conversations.===

    The aldermen coulda walked across the street, even before passage, and learn. Doing homework late is not on those moving things forward. Lazy is gonna lazy.

    Unless it’s not being lazy, it’s… #HostageTakingWithoutPlans


  21. - Levois J - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 12:11 pm:

    I hadn’t really tuned into until just now, it just fell apart!


  22. - The Captain - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 12:13 pm:

    Strong, strong disagree.


  23. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    Can’t blame Alderman Earvin for testing his strength relative to Mayor Lightfoot…case closed…weakly.


  24. - A Guy - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    The redefinition of Dumb.


  25. - Sonny - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 12:47 pm:

    The Governor’s staff chiming in was poor form. They came across as arrogant and as Rahm would say, they are making the mistake of spiking the football on the five yard line. So far the sales arrangement is wildly unfair to marginalized group and while there is the promise of it getting better, I’ll believe it when I see it. If they spent less time patting themselves on the back and stroking their egos and more time doing actual work, maybe this kind of thing in Council could have been avoided.


  26. - Lodestar - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 1:24 pm:

    Jason Ervin made lots of people angry yesterday but will likely come off as a hero on the west side. If his plan is to run for Danny Davis’ seat in the near future he helped his cause with all the earned media. If his goal was to avenge his wife, Melissa Conyears Ervin, well, he burned a lot of political capital for nothing. If it’s both, smart play. The news coverage will help bury the oppo a bit on his stripper party at the ward office and his other shenanigans.


  27. - Rich Hill - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 1:26 pm:

    ==This was perhaps the most ridiculous and false outcry of city council members that I’ve ever witnessed. == Consider it a holiday flashback to the golden age of Fast Eddie Vrdolyak, like a NSFW version of WGN’s Family Classics.


  28. - revvedup - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 2:31 pm:

    Uninformed alderpersons (or other elected officials) isn’t even remotely surprising, given that many can’t or won’t be bothered with facts. That some voted against their own ordinance–then continue to raise totally unsubstantiated claims–makes them look even more foolish than the people that voted them into office.


  29. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 2:32 pm:

    “Jason Ervin made lots of people angry yesterday but will likely come off as a hero on the west side.”

    Political heroes don’t return empty-handed.

    – MrJM


  30. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 2:39 pm:

    === Political heroes don’t return empty-handed.===

    Grandstanding is the art of making a point, without a point, and nothing to show for it in the end.

    Ervin isn’t a hero. Ervin lost yesterday, for what I’m still confused.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 2:44 pm:

    The email by the Food and Beverage Director isn’t what Ervin is saying, at all.

    The Governor’s Office fully clarifies;

    === Two of the five outstanding medical licenses will be awarded to locations in Chicago, according to the state law that established the medical cannabis program in 2013.

    The change to the medical application process – adding a social equity component – is currently going through the state’s rule-making process to be finalized.===

    So why is Ervin still beefing?


  32. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 3:54 pm:

    Ald Ervin sounds like he wants to cooperate in the future and not linger on this, which is great. Per Politico:

    “We sometimes may have disagreements, and that’s OK,” he said to the Tribune. “We understand her position, she understands ours. We disagree with one another. That doesn’t mean we’re in a position where we can’t work together.”


  33. - Maryjane - Thursday, Dec 19, 19 @ 4:20 pm:

    Finally! A good reason to visit a Hookah Lounge.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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