CHICAGO — A lottery was held at City Hall Friday, telling operators of Chicago’s medical marijuana dispensaries which of them would get to open recreational pot shops.
Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1. Companies in the state already have licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, and plan to open recreational dispensaries also.
Under city ordinance, there are seven zones or districts — and seven pot shops are allowed in each zone.
The most sought after locations are in the downtown area.
Areas where the dispensaries are not allowed include Michigan Avenue, the Loop and much of River North.
Thirty-one cards were placed in a drum Friday, each representing a license holder. A card was drawn, and that license holder had three minutes to select a zone. Once a zone was maxed out, it was no longer in play.
These companies must hold a public meeting in the community. and then seek a special-use permit from the city.
Most of the businesses included in the lottery said they will not be ready to open Jan. 1.