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Legel Reefer Should Come With Small, Small, Small Independent Business Rights

Former long-shot governor candidate Tio Hardiman sees it as a way to help more minorities get in on Illinois’ newly legalized cannabis market.

A former long-shot candidate for governor has an unusual idea to help more minorities get in on Illinois’ newly legalized cannabis market: Let people sell to consumers directly in their neighborhoods.

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.

“The licensed cannabis businesses are already making millions of dollars from sales since January 1, and those citizens with the most experience in the industry are still in the streets unemployed,” Hardiman said in a statement.

Hardiman, executive director of the nonprofit Violence Interrupters, also is asking for Pritzker to provide amnesty for those with “felonies from illegal drug sales.”

The law currently allows for the expungement of certain drug-based criminal records and sets up grant and loan programs to help those “disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs,”  Pritzker said upon signing the legislation 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.

Legal pot ‘peddlers’ should be allowed to sell at farmer’s markets, on street corners, black activists say

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.”

Tio Hardiman and his allies propose a “peddlers license” that would allow marijuana businesses to sell the drug in public.
 Tom Schuba/Sun-Times

A group of community activists led by violence interrupter Tio Hardiman called on lawmakers Wednesday to permit the sale of legal pot in public places as a way to bolster minority participation in the city’s overwhelmingly white cannabis industry.

Hardiman claimed the creation of a “peddler’s license” that would allow businesses to sell weed at farmer’s markets or out of trucks could help “ease some of the conflict with the illegal drug trade” and in effect combat gun violence.

“This way you can take the criminal element out of [selling marijuana] and allow these young guys to make some legal money. And then you can help reduce unemployment in the African American community,” Hardiman said during a press conference in front of The Herbal Care Center, a Near West Side pot shop.

The proposal, however, doesn’t jive with some of the state’s strict regulations for selling weed. There are a limited number of dispensaries statewide, which must employ security staff, scan the IDs of all visitors and log every sale into a system monitored by state regulators.

Hardiman claimed the new businesses would keep a “paper trail,” likening the potential operations to tech startups like Grubhub or Uber that use mobile apps and log transactions. But unlike those services, which accept debit or credit cards, the vast majority of pot shops only accept cash.

Unemployed Chicago residents want Peddler’s License to sell legal cannabis in the hood

Unemployed Chicago Residents Want Peddler’s License to Sell Legal Cannabis in the Hood

Tio “Mr. Ceasefire” Hardiman, says Peddler’s License Will Provide Jobs and Reduce Violence

Press Conference Wednesday, January 22, 2020, at 10:30 AM

 CHICAGO – Saying they have years, and, in some cases, decades of experience selling marijuana, a group of black citizens say they cannot wait on delayed government bureaucracy to establish policy for them to land jobs in the lucrative new legalized cannabis industry. They need and want jobs now.

The men and women, some ex-felons, have turned to Tio “Mr. Ceasefire” Hardiman, executive director of Violence Interrupters, to assist them in their quest to secure permits, just like food vendors, to distribute and sell marijuana legally in their neighborhoods. For those who have felonies from illegal drug sales, they are requesting that Governor J.B. Pritzker clears the road for amnesty as soon as possible.

Hardiman and those seeking permits and amnesty will hold a rally and press conference outside The Herbal Care Center, 1301 S. Western Ave., on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, at 10:30 AM, calling on Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot to assist them in getting permits.

“Everyone is promising to direct profits from the sale of marijuana into the communities that have been most impacted by the sale of illegal drugs,” Hardiman said. “Well, these unemployed men and women are saying they can’t wait until that happens. And to be frank, they don’t believe it will happen. History shows those promises are never kept. The licensed cannabis businesses are already making millions of dollars from sales since January 1, and those citizens with the most experience in the industry are still in the streets unemployed.”

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