Chicagoans looking to grab a bag of legal weed when sales kick off on New Year’s Day will likely face long lines at the few stores — less than a dozen — that are expected to be open.
The buzzkill comes in the form of new city rules announced Monday which make it clear that the city’s 11 existing medical pot shops will likely be the only places to purchase recreational pot come Jan. 1. A source at the Zoning Board of Appeals confirmed that will probably be the case.
Under the state legalization law, existing operators can convert existing medical cannabis dispensaries into dual-use stores and open additional recreational shops for each license they currently hold.
The new rules outline a special-use permit lottery scheduled for Nov. 15 that will allow operators in the Chicago area to identify which of the city’s seven designated districts for recreational dispensaries they intend to move into. The number of recreational pot shops in each district will initially be capped at seven but could be increased to 14 by May 1, when another batch of licenses is made available to firms that don’t already have an interest in the state’s pot game. [Read more at Chicago Sun-Times]