A divided City Council agreed Wednesday to let a medical marijuana company expand its Jefferson Park dispensary over the strenuous objections from African-American aldermen who wanted to hold it up to press their case for cannabis equity.
Prior to the 31-to-19 vote, Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, argued the unwritten rule allowing aldermen to call the shots on zoning matters in their own wards is a one-way street.
“It seems like … when it come down to Black folks, aldermanic prerogative gets tossed out the window,” Ervin said.
“When the alderman of the 2nd Ward wanted to put an honorary street sign up for a slain civil rights leader [Fred Hampton] in their ward, [the response was], `Oh, we can’t do that. Why? Because it goes beyond aldermanic prerogative. When Ald. Mitts in the 37th Ward tried to bring [Wal-Mart] jobs to her community, we had to fight for almost a year.”
Ervin noted that the Il. House passed a bill this week to finally bring some equity to the lily-white cannabis industry by creating 110 new dispensary licenses authorizing the sale of recreational marijuana.
It included an amendment allowing social