Chicago Mayor Lightfoot Announces Additional Round of Community Meetings to Engage Residents on Cannabis Legalization

Community meetings to focus on new City regulations, safe and responsible use, and enforcement reforms ahead of cannabis legalization on Jan. 1, 2020; building on zoning town halls held earlier this year

CHICAGO, IL (STL.News) To ensure legalized cannabis is implemented in a safe, fair, and equitable manner for all communities,  Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot Monday announced that the City of Chicago will host two community information sessions this week to provide community members with opportunities to submit questions, provide public input, and learn more about the upcoming legalization of recreational cannabis in Chicago and statewide starting on Jan. 1, 2020.

These meetings build on continued engagement the City has undertaken to ensure community perspectives are considered as new cannabis regulations are developed.  Earlier this year, the City partnered with aldermen and zoning administrators to gain input on zoning regulations, which have been approved by City Council.  Approvals on zoning for new cannabis dispensaries and businesses will be taken up only after community meetings are held, starting in 2020.

“From righting the generation-old wrongs of our past to building equitable opportunities for our residents, the legalization of cannabis in Illinois represents nothing short of a historic, transformative moment for all communities in our state,” said Mayor Lightfoot.  “Transparency and inclusion have been at the heart of our efforts since day one, and these additional community meetings serve an important role in ensuring Chicago’s residents continue to have a voice in shaping smart and effective cannabis regulations to guide implementation next year.”

Led by the Mayor’s Office, the upcoming community meetings will convene advocacy organizations, public safety officials, medical professionals and local legal aid organizations to lead a dialogue regarding efforts future municipal code changes, enforcement reforms, consumption licensing, expungement, and public health education implemented by the City to ensure safe and responsible sales and use of cannabis in Chicago.

Each meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. and take place at the following locations on the South and West Sides of the city:

  • Thursday, Dec. 5 – Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson Blvd.
  • Friday, Dec. 6 – Chicago State University, Breakey Theatre, 9501 S. King Dr.

Representatives from the Mayor’s Office, Chicago Police Department (CPD), Chicago Department of Public Health and local legal aid organizations will conduct presentations on the City’s latest rules and regulations passed at City Council this fall, including CPD’s reformed enforcement policies to reduce fines and decriminalize unlawful consumption or possession of cannabis.  Additionally, the City will seek public input from residents on additional factors regarding the upcoming legalization, including onsite cannabis consumption licensing, and ways to further social equity and opportunities for small, local businesses as new policies are created.

Following the presentations, community members will have an opportunity to provide public comment and submit questions. Each meeting will also be live-streamed on Twitter and Facebook @ChicagosMayor to ensure members of the community who are not able to make it to the meetings are able to watch and listen in real-time.

The Mayor’s Office continues to work with community advocates, business leaders, policy experts and cannabis professionals to ensure residents understand the impacts of recreational cannabis ahead of its legalization. Residents are encouraged to visit to learn more about safe and responsible use of cannabis.