Former long-shot governor candidate Tio Hardiman sees it as a way to help more minorities get in on Illinois’ newly legalized cannabis market.
Tio Hardiman, an anti-violence activist who ran as a democratic candidate for governor in 2018, is calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to issue permits for people to sell cannabis directly to their communities, just like food vendors.
Hardiman says the state’s legalization rollout has left out people of color, despite the fact that Pritzker declared the law to be the most equity-centric in the nation upon signing it last year.
Some, though—especially black lawmakers—have questioned whether the law is working as intended. None of the 11 dispensaries licensed so far in Chicago are owned by a person of color, and others have noted that the large amount of capital needed to get into the business is another roadblock for minorities interested in applying for a license.
Violence interrupter Tio Hardiman said the creation of a a special license that would allow sales in public could “ease some of the conflict with the illegal drug trade.”