On Friday morning, marijuana companies filled the Chicago City Hall to participate in the first-ever lottery held for awarding recreational marijuana permits.
In the first round, Joel Caltabiano with Cresco Labs got the first pick. The company managed to get a spot at the heart of the city of Chicago, which was coveted by many as it includes an entertainment corridor located near Rive North and the Gold Coast. The central business district (CBD) is highly concentrated with people, hotels, and entertainment joints.
Caltabiano said that being located in the central business district is the best for the company because the area is highly populated. He also noted that the central business district generates most of the city’s tax revenue because it is where most spending is done.
The existing 31 medical dispensaries in Chicago have already been licensed to sell recreational marijuana come January 1 by the state. However, those who participated in the lottery were given a chance to choose a second location in the designated seven districts in Chicago.
Jeremy Unruh, who is from Pharmacann, said that recreational marijuana sales would add to the tax revenue in Chicago. He also noted that it would create new jobs.
Each of the seven districts is allowed a maximum number of seven dispensaries which will be increased to 14 in May. The cap on the number of dispensaries is to make sure that they are uniformly distributed across Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
The downtown spots were snagged up very quickly; however, not all businesses wanted to be at the heart of the action.
The Herbal Care Center medical marijuana dispensary, which neighbors the Illinois Medical District, now has a chance to open a second dispensary in a similar community. Brenda Schiller of The Herbal Care Center said that her company is focused on serving the community instead of the tourists.
The director of business development for Viola Brands, Jamil Taylor, said that he is looking for an opportunity to open an outlet in Illinois because he noticed a lack of diversity in the City Hall during the lottery. Taylor further noted that among the people participating in the lottery, he did not see any people of color or Asians, just people who do not identify with the city of Illinois, which could pose a challenge because of a lack of representation of other races.
The growing recreational marijuana sector will help boost economic development on the South and West sides of Chicago after it becomes legal next year.
Schiller said that the lottery system of awarding permits is a marijuana reform program that further leaves out people who are most affected by the war against drugs.
Before the licensed businesses can get operational, they must host at least one community meeting in their ward.
Experts believe that cannabis companies like Dama Financial and Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) are pleased that plans to avail recreational marijuana in Illinois are now in final gear.
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