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