CHICAGO — Legal recreational marijuana in Illinois could drive demand as high as 550,000 pounds a year, far more than the state’s licensed growers can supply, according to a new study commissioned by state legislators.
The study, performed by the Colorado consulting firm Freedman Koski, lends support to those who argue that Illinois’ fledgling marijuana industry should expand and diversify, allowing the participation of more black and Latino entrepreneurs — people whose communities have disproportionately suffered during America’s war on drugs.
“We have a whole industry that’s treating it like the gold rush, but you have generations of folks who are still living with all the impacts of what the criminal justice system did to them,” said Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights. “It’s unfair to discuss this in any other way.”
The possibility of full marijuana legalization has stirred up a robust lobbying effort from many of the state’s