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Legal recreational marijuana sales to begin Jan. 1 in Chicago after City Council ordinance fails

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 19: Dave Warden, a bud tender at Private Organic Therapy (P.O.T.), a non-profit co-operative medical marijuana dispensary, displays various types of marijuana available to patients on October 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Attorney General Eric Holder announced new guidelines today for federal prosecutors in states where the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is allowed under state law. Federal prosecutors will no longer trump the state with raids on the southern California dispensaries as they had been doing, but Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley recently began a crackdown campaign that will include raids against the facilities. Cooley maintains that virtually all marijuana dispensaries are in violation of the law because they profit from their product. The city of LA has been slow to come to agreement on how to regulate its 800 to 1,000 dispensaries. Californians voted to allow sick people with referrals from doctors to consume cannabis with the passage of state ballot Proposition 215 in 1996 and a total of 14 states now allow the medicinal use of marijuana. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

CHICAGO — The Chicago City Council voted down on Wednesday, Dec. 18 an ordinance to delay recreational marijuana sales until the summer, WGN reports.

Recreational marijuana will be legal in Chicago at the same time as the rest of the state on Jan.1, 2020.

A council committee endorsed an aldermanic Black Caucus proposal to delay those sales until July, instead of in just two weeks. The caucus said it wants to ensure that minorities have a fair shot at securing dispensary licenses.

In a statement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed understanding but argued the delay would only fuel illegal sales. Her office vowed to work with social equity applicants to improve representation within the industry.

The City Council voted to defeat the proposal following an intense and often heated debate Wednesday morning.

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