The Chicago, Illinois City Council Zoning Committee has approved a plan by Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) to eliminate the city’s cannabis zones and allow more retail cannabis dispensaries in downtown Chicago, the Real Deal reports. The move comes as Lightfoot seeks to bring more businesses to the area.
In all, there are 110 licensed retail cannabis dispensaries in Illinois but just 18 of them are in Chicago, which has cost the city an estimated $13 million in revenue, the report says.
The previous zoning law created seven so-called cannabis zones in Chicago and placed limits on the number of dispensaries allowed in each zone. The goal was to ensure dispensaries would be evenly spread out across the city. The law designated downtown—from Division Street in the north, Van Buren Street in the south, from State Street in the west, and down to the Chicago River in the loop—as an “exclusion zone” where dispensaries could not operate due to the area’s density and the number of tourists.
Under the plan, the revised exclusion zone will shrink, with Division and Van Buren streets still serving as the northern and southern borders, but Michigan and State streets will become the east and west boundaries, the report says.
The full City Council is expected to take up the proposal next week.
Applicants had to participate in a zoning lottery to potentially be approved to open in the city—180 dispensary licenses are still waiting to be issued but have been delayed due to a lawsuit in Cook County.
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