Mayor decries lack of Black-owned Illinois cannabis dispensaries

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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – The mayor of East St. Louis says minorities have been getting shortchanged by the state of Illinois when it comes to doling out adult licenses to set up cannabis dispensaries. None of the new licenses for the sale of cannabis went to local minorities.

It was one of the key selling points when the law was passed in 2019 to allow recreational marijuana use in Illinois. There was to be a focus on social equity and on helping those who suffered the most in the war on drugs. But when the winners were read, minorities were not in the front of the line.

East St. Louis Mayor Robert Eastern III says he’s extremely disappointed that some of the proposals from people in his city weren’t accepted. He intends to battle harder, saying the revenue generated would be critical to cities like his that are in a financial crisis.

Illinois is trying to correct the problem. The state legislature has authorized 110 new licenses. Some will even be in a Social Equity category to give minorities a better shot at getting one of the new licenses.

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