Community Benefits Agreements

Cannabis businesses should put their community first!

The Coalition’s press conference announcing its first CBA, March, 2020.

As part of cannabis legalization, Illinois lawmakers allowed for the existing medical cannabis dispensary operators to open a “Plus-1” recreational dispensary. These existing operators, none of whom are led by individuals from impacted communities, are allowed to get a head start on expanding their businesses in Illinois, while new entrepreneurs are forced to wait. 

To ensure that these companies, many of whom are multi-state operators, are doing their fair share to support communities impacted by prohibition, we started the #CannabisCBA campaign. Alongside Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, we’ve drafted the first Cannabis Community Benefits Agreement in the country.

Coalition press conference announcing its first CBA, March, 2020.

On March 3, 2020, we announced our very first CBA with a dispensary! Read about our agreement with Nature’s Care Company in Crain’s and Block Club Chicago. We signed our second agreement in the Summer of 2020, and hope all “Plus-1” dispensaries will work with organizations like ours to ensure most impacted communities are benefiting from these dispensaries.

The most impactful community benefits partnerships will result in all of the goals and commitments listed below becoming memorialized in a Community Benefits Agreement between the new dispensary and the Coalition.

An example of some items that are included in #CannabisCBA.

We have an action plan to bring this CBA and negotiate its binding terms with licensed cannabis businesses. We encourage you to join us, especially at public meetings for proposed dispensaries in 2020 — for the most up to date public meetings regarding new sites for cannabis businesses, DM or follow us @CannaEquityIL. We welcome everyone across the state to engage with this campaign, so that the “plus-1” dispensaries statewide are working with community partners.

Coalition members at Chicago City Hall for the first cannabis zoning hearing, March, 2020.