Seeking to diversify an industry dominated by wealthy white people, a Chicago lawmaker on Friday plans to introduce legislation he says would put a “laser focus” on social equity for 110 new recreational cannabis dispensary licenses.
State Rep. LaShawn Ford said he has negotiated details of the legislation with Gov. JB Pritzker on behalf of potential minority owners as the first major adjustment to the state law that in January 2020 allowed the cultivation and sale of recreational marijuana to people 21 and older in Illinois.
“The industry right now is monopolized by a few rich people that the law wasn’t intended to make richer,” Ford, a Democrat, told The State Journal-Register.
“It really was intended in this emerging market to give people an opportunity to be part of a business and create jobs for people who have been left behind and create businesses for people who have been left behind,” he said.
Illinois surpassed $1 billion in legal cannabis sales in 2020, including $669 million from recreational pot, and more than $175 million in taxes on recreational sales were collected by state government.