Chicago council rejects bid to delay Jan. 1 marijuana sales

The Chicago City Council on Wednesday rejected an effort to delay marijuana sales until July 1.

The ordinance was defeated by 10 votes, a day after a council committee approved a delay amid complaints that minorities were being left out of ownership of Chicago marijuana businesses.

“This has been percolating for months, yet we are told to wait our turn," said Alderman Leslie Hairston, who is black. "The only people who benefit from this deal are white people. We get thrown in jail and they get thrown in the bank.”

Marijuana sales become legal in Illinois on Jan. 1.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot had opposed any delay in Chicago, saying concerns over diversity could be addressed without a postponement.

Alderman Jason Ervin said African Americans have “zero representation” among owners of 11 medical marijuana dispensaries that would quickly make the transition to recreational sales on Jan. 1.