An Illinois House committee Thursday unanimously approved a bill designed to create more racial, ethnic and gender diversity in the ownership of marijuana dispensaries.
“There is an entire ecosystem that needs to start to grow,” Toi Hutchinson, senior adviser to Gov. JB Pritzker on cannabis policy, said before the House Executive Committee voted 15-0 to send House Bill 1443 to the full House for a vote as soon as Friday.
Sponsored by state Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, the bill would make the first major changes to the state’s recreational marijuana industry since Illinois lawmakers first allowed the cultivation, sale and use of cannabis to people 21 and older in Illinois in January 2020.
Though some minority entrepreneurs wanted the state to go farther in giving them access to an industry so far dominated by wealthy white men, Ford said he believes the legislation would “get this emerging economy going.”
“This is the vehicle that will move this industry forward and allow Black and brown people in it,” he said.