The Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition was founded in early 2019, as support for adult-use cannabis in Illinois grew. After a series of town hall meetings on the South Side of Chicago that discussed cannabis legalization in Illinois, community members recognized the need to take action to ensure community needs were met during legalization.
In early April 2019, a group of people met for the first time at the Port Ministries in Back of the Yards, and the Coalition was born.
During the legislative session in 2019, the Coalition developed a list of priorities for legalized cannabis.
The Coalition focused its advocacy on expanding expungement of criminal records, increasing state funding for impacted communities, and making sure there is legitimate access to the industry for impacted entrepreneurs.
In May of 2019, the Coalition led a lobby day down to Springfield, where more than 100 people from across Chicagoland met with legislators to express the need for equity and justice in the legalization bill. While the bill that would pass is far from perfect, it is by far the most equity-focused cannabis legalization platform in the nation, and the Coalition takes great pride in having moved the needle on this issue.
Since Legalization, the Coalition has continued to meet every week, to continue advocating for impacted communities, organizing events & campaigns to promote our mission, and to watchdog the state and the cannabis industry as legalization is implemented.
The Coalition organizes as a grassroots collective to expand opportunities for record clearing in Chicagoland and across Illinois, and to educate communities about their rights and record clearing opportunities.
The Coalition utilizes its grassroots strength to advocate for ‘Plus-1’ dispensaries to sign onto a Community Benefits Agreements, tying the economic success of those dispensaries to impacted communities.
The Coalition's grassroots structure shapes the development of the Coalition's legislative priorities, as we gather community feedback to ensure we're fighting for changes that will bring the largest benefit to communities.
Through grassroots organizing, issue advocacy, and lobbying, the Cannabis Equity IL Coalition works to elevate community voices by building power locally, to create change related to legalized cannabis in Illinois.
We are a grassroots non-profit formed by community members fighting to make sure the legalization of cannabis in Illinois is done to repair and reinvest in the communities most impacted by the War on Drugs, and to ensure the cannabis industry prioritizes people over profits!