Bill 1443

Mr Pritzker, Bill HB1443 and Supporting Underground Drug Dealers

Bill 1443

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Where are you getting your weed from? It’s a question that lands you on either side of an important debate. Almost 2 years post legalization, and buying from a dispensary is still a socially distasteful experience. Sure, we want to partake in marihuana in a legal way. Yet the options are limited, sometimes even subpar. While it is completely legal to consume marihuana, we are at the mercy of these corporations who have come in and offered us the bare minimum. So how can you get the hood excited about shopping for weed legally? You push for social equity licenses to be awarded. But what happens when your push is being pushed back by crooked politics?

For so many of us who smoke weed, the laws and bills having to do with marihuana seem very confusing. What once was a fun hobby that a lot of us had to hide, is suddenly in the spotlight, being picked apart by rich white men in suits. And while most black and brown cannabis consumers knew that this industry would be taken away from us, it’s almost harsh in the way it has played out. Quickly we have seen the industry taken over by corporations, with dispensaries that are little more than Weed-Marts, and weed that is never more than mids. It’s been quite disappointing, but not as disappointing as the lack of push back from black and brown consumers.

While there are organizations in place that help educate the average Joe, no one is talking to these street drug dealers. The pioneers of the industry have often been overlooked, despite the immense amount of business sense it takes in order to survive in the streets. Instead of stimulating the percentage of these people that want to go legit, we are teaching them that they will be forgotten. We are teaching the thousands of people who bought from them that they will be replaced. Just like Walmarts replace all the local mom and pop shops where they are opened. We are allowing the industry to be dominated by white men who have never bought a bag of weed for $10. Who don’t even know about nickel bags are. Who’ve never encountered what buying weed was like 3 years ago.

On May 28th, HB1443 was passed. It was what many thought was the beginning of social equity in cannabis. Boy, were we wrong. Since it passed, there have been nothing but hiccup after hiccup. Despite there being no hiccups when the original 75 licenses were passed. Because rich white men never have to face these hurdles. These hurdles are strictly reserved for black and brown people. It was quickly published that these social equity licenses would be granted exclusively to veterans. As if any of the corporations currently selling weed legally in Illinois have served anyone except themselves. It’s time we realize and acknowledge the organizations that have been fighting for over a year. Who have dedicated themselves in the fight to ensure equality in an industry that has been taken away.

Governor Pritzker, during his campaigning, stood on his promise to make Cannabis legalization about people of color. And now that we are fully aware of that giant lie, we must fight to carve our spot in this industry. For some people, fighting means joining organizations and pushing towards social equity. For others, fighting means not shopping at dispensaries. For all of us, fighting means educating ourselves and staying on top of what is happening in legal cannabis. It is our responsibility as cannabis consumers to push towards a legal state where licenses aren’t left to unfair lotteries. Where the politicians are hiding not only this information, but also where all the tax money generated is going. Until we are in an Illinois where someone can turn their life around from being a former street drug dealer, to now being a licensed weed dispenser, the fight must continue. 

Shout out to Chillinois Podcast for keeping me up to date. For explaining a lot of these laws and regulations in a way that is easy to follow along. Make sure you check them out on Instagram, their website, and their podcast. And make sure to let them know, Mex and the City sent you!

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