So Lori Lightfoot offically becomes sworn in as mayor of Chicago today. As we celebrate this historic occasion, we also watch and see as to how her administration is going to play out on many issues affecting the City of Chicago and State of Illinois. One of which, is how is this going to affect cannabis legislation? Where is Mayor Lori Lightfoot on recreational marijuana in Illinois?
Mayor Lightfoot has outlined her official position on her website here. Let’s unpack this, shall we?
Legalization and taxation of Illinois marijuana
While this sounds very promising and progressive, time will tell as to what legalization means to this administration. Does that mean recreational? Recreational with provisions? Medical only? What kind of taxation does Mayor Lightfoot support? A sales tax? If so, what are the details and what sorts of businesses will that affect the most?
Learn from states that have legalized cannabis
Clearly, we can learn tremendously from the challenges and issues that states such as California, Colorado, and Washington have faced when legalizing pot. Which lessons will the Lightfoot administration learn from? We in Illinois face our own unique challenges, often taking our cues from the City of Chicago. As we continue to face a budget crisis, gun violence in our inner cities, and school funding issues, we need to determine as how legalized cannabis would best help Illinois solve these issues.
Cannabis licenses for people of color in Illinois
As we’ve discussed previously, we will see business programs for minorities and women emerge when we legalize recreational marijuana here in Illinois. One of the best initiatives that Mayor Lightfoot could support is to help take away restrictions that hold back people of color and women from cannabis opportunities. Her support for MBE and WBE programs, grant funding, mentoring programs, would help even the playing field.
Keep cannabis away from children
This is a huge one, obviously. When we fully legalize marijuana in Illinois, we need to stay ahead of the challenges we will face in terms of keeping children away. What is her plan? Will she handle this similarly to that of alcohol? With what kind of support in place?
So again, where exactly is Lori Lightfoot on recreational marijuana in Illinois? When we legalize it, where will she throw her support?
Most likely Mayor Lightfoot’s support will come in the form of programs for small businesses and job opportunities for minorities and women. She ran on a progressive, all inclusive platform. Her goals include wanting to create opportunities for ALL of the city’s residents. Hopefully, legalization of marijuana in Illinois will help to achieve those ends. Time will tell.