Cannabis is a new ball park and Chicago is all in to become the Cannabis Capital in America. During the Cannabis Roundtable held on September 8th, 15 leaders in the cannabis industry came together to discuss their experiences as entrepreneurs and how the city of Chicago can lead and advocate for the Cannabis industry.
With new opportunities come new challenges. Following the very structured legalization of cannabis, the Mayor’s office is working to address a huge regulatory gap for the industry. The city and policy makers need the data and research to create policies; and rely on communication with industry leaders for on-the-ground understanding of the business of cannabis. The city of Chicago and the state of Illinois have separate zoning timelines and requirements for cannabis licensing. Alignment between city, state and federal laws is needed. The Mayor’s office in Chicago has the opportunity to lead and advocate for the cannabis industry with the connections facilitated by World Business Chicago.
The types of organizations within cannabis vary from businesses with one license to nonprofits and big industry names; which means the interests of each type of entity varies by nature. At the roundtable, leaders began to share intel and knowledge amongst one another: such as where to go for employee and employer education of Cannabis tech, & what innovation exists to keep competitive with other markets.
The cannabis industry leaders had consensus across three main points of discussion:
This round table was strategically organized and curated to include key players in Cannabis in order to address real time concerns affecting the Cannabis industry on different levels. For instance, can Cannabis dispensaries start construction before passing ZBA or can they potentially receive a general retail privilege first? What is the possibility of Cannabis licenses having their own zoning meeting dates? As a result of these discussions, a list of actionable next steps were suggested including a:
The roundtable showed promise of the leaders within the Cannabis industry organizing to form a representative body. The group convened for the roundtable was a glimpse of what a central body advocating on behalf of the industry could look like thanks to combined efforts by WBC and the Mayor’s office.
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