The Worst of Chicago: It’s AUDACITY

It’s genuinely THE AUDACITY for me. A publication that claims to be for the “others”, The Chicago Reader, has released its annual “Best of Chicago” issue. One that was particularly important as they have now included the brand new “Cannabis” category. I have to tell you all, I saw the results coming a mile away, and I am amused. You see, the category was non- negotiable, in fact, it was just a full page ad for Cresco Labs. Opening it felt like in Scooby Doo when they pull the mask off the bad guy, well for us stoners, Cresco Labs is always the bad guy.

It really is quite shameless that a company with a 2 Star rating on Indeed would win “Best Cannabis Company to Work For”. Almost a slap in the face to the countless people who have come forward to denounce their work environments. As if they can just sweep under the rug that they were the first cultivators who’s employees had to unionize. In 2020 no less. It’s blatant propaganda and almost hilarious considering the average wage in the cannabis industry lies somewhere slightly above minimum wage. All while it pulled in over $550 million in revenue in Illinois. Now consider that Cresco Labs dominates most of the market. 

Cresco Labs was started by 2 rich guys who had the funds and who now desperately want Chicagoans to embrace their shitty quality and less than favorable employment practices. For the Chicago Reader to think it’s ok to pat these underwhelming humans on the back is laughable. Yet how can we really expect more from a publication that had the AUDACITY to include the precursor  “I should also acknowledge that a lot of writers’ picks skew to the north side, in part because we weren’t leaving our homes and that’s where many of us live.” As if Chicago consists of only the North Side. It’s because of this reason, and their history of bias journalism that we think The Chicago Reader is on its last legs.

Sure, Cresco has accomplished a lot. They have managed to monopolize an industry that just 3 years ago was illegal. Instead of aligning these white men with the countless brown and black men who are incarcerated for selling marihuana, we align these white men with entrepreneurs and innovators. That’s not ok. These were not a couple of smart men who jumped on a growing industry, they were the way the government showed us that legalizing Cannabis was never about the people. It was about their pockets.

It’s the responsibility of big publications like The Chicago Reader to provide people with unbiased journalism. Countless independent publications are constantly being taken down by Instagram and Facebook for telling the truth, and here we have major publications outright lying to its readers. This is not the Tribune or the Sun Times we’re talking about, it’s about the locally loved Chicago Reader. One that is not without criticism, especially when they have had the audacity to publish something like this. The Chicago Reader has always aligned itself with the arts, being the “alternative newspaper” that hipsters and creatives have always loved. Yet this issue, “Chicago’s Best’ is just confirmation for a lot of us that newspapers are not to be trusted, and that independent reporting is where we need to be getting our information from.

You see, Cresco Labs sponsored this damn poll. As did Green Thumb, the 2 companies who are listed as number 1 and 2. Let’s call this what it really is: blatant manipulation and bribery. Any company who sponsors a “poll”  like this should automatically not qualify. Or why not just NOT accept sponsorships at all? Why would they think it’s ok to publish this shit piece?. Shame on the Chicago Reader for rolling out this category when most people haven’t even gotten a fair chance to obtain a license. They’re actively trying to dissuade the regular people from venturing into this industry. Shame on The Chicago Reader for highlighting Cresco Labs instead of true Cannabis pioneers like Moises Zavala who unionized their ass. Shame on The Chicago Reader for thinking they can run a Chicago geared newspaper without so much as hiring people from the South side. You don’t get to pick and choose who in our city to represent.

I write this as an observation to all of my fellow stoners. I am not a cannabis expert, much less a political one. I write about this to start a conversation, to get more minorities to be involved in these important topics. The system was not made for minorities, but it is most definitely our industry. I hope everyone who reads this will stop supporting biased publications and instead seek independent journalists who are honest and care about this city and the cannabis community. The Chicago Reader does not care about Chicago’s cannabis community, and I think it’s time we show them, we don’t care about them either.

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