City of Chicago to host Cannabis Resource Fair

City of Chicago to host Cannabis Resource Fair

The City of Chicago will host a free first ever Cannabis Resource Fair this Saturday, February 1. The day-long Fair (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at UIC Forum (725 W. Roosevelt Rd) will feature an opportunity for residents to connect with cannabis businesses, industry experts, social equity leaders, advocacy groups, government agencies and legal aid organizations.

Six presentations and panel discussions will cover a wide range of subjects, including: Know Your Rights, expungement, and starting a business in the industry. 

The resource fair will kick off with Mayor Lightfoot joining a panel discussion with keynote speaker Wanda James, CEO of Simply Pure Dispensary and the nation’s first African American licensed to own a dispensary in the United States, and State Representative Kelly Cassidy, a sponsor of the house bill that legalized the sale of adult use cannabis in Illinois.  

Here’s the Schedule:

KEYNOTE PANEL DISCUSSION (10:15 AM – 11:00 AM)

Featuring:

  • Mayor Lightfoot
  • Wanda James, Founder & CEO, Simply Pure Dispensary and State Representative
  • Kelly Cassidy, House Sponsor of the Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act

KEYNOTE CANNABIS 101 & KNOW YOUR RIGHTS (11:15AM – 12:15PM)

An explanation of all things pertaining to cannabis legalization, including the current state of the industry, key provisions of legalization, upcoming dates to be aware of, and consumer rights.

Featuring:

  • Toi Hutchison, Senior Advisor to the Governor for Cannabis Control
  • Richard Wallace, PURE Cannabis Coalition
  • Mony Ruiz-Velasco, Executive Director of PASO–West Suburban Action Project

PANEL 2: I WANT TO START A BUSINESS IN THE INDUSTRY (11:15AM – 12:15PM)

Overview of how to start a cannabis business in Illinois, whether it be a dispensary, craft growing operation, or another entity. This panel will discuss the process of starting a cannabis business, including the State’s licensure process.

Featuring:

  • Alma Tello, Deputy Director for the Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) at the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
  • Anton Seals, Founder, OURS LLC
  • Jamil Taylor, Director of Operations & Business Development, ViolaKevin Slaughter, partner in the Corporate Practice Group of Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC
  • Jeff Cox, Bureau Chief of Medicinal Plants at the Illinois Department of Agriculture

PANEL 3: EXPUNGEMENT (12:30PM – 1:30PM)

An overview of the expungement provisions of the state law, including automatic expungement and the rap sheet process.

 Featuring:

  • Sodiqa Williams, Vice President, External Affairs and General Counsel for the Safer Foundation
  • Alysia Tate, the Director of Organizational Strategy and Development for Cabrini Green Legal Aid
  • Regina Hernandez, a staff attorney with Legal Aid Chicago’s (LAC’s) Volunteer Services Unit

PANEL 4: CONTRACTING OPPORTUNITIES (12:30PM – 1:30PM)

From construction to security to HVAC to electricians, this panel will highlight the needs of the cannabis industry and offer you a chance to think about how to increase your customer base in the cannabis industry.

Featuring:

  • Pamela Althoff, Executive Director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois
  • Edie Moore, Executive Director of Chicago NORML
  • Paul Chialdikas of Bedford Grow LLC/ Maribis LLC, a Chicago-based cannabis company
  • Willie JR Fleming, South and West Side Cannabis Coalition (SWCC)
  • John Sullivan, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at Cresco Labs

 PANEL 5: I WANT TO WORK IN THE INDUSTRY (1:45PM – 2:45PM)

An overview of the various paths to work in the industry, in addition to covering available jobs, this session will explain what skills, training and certification are necessary.

Featuring:

  • Britteny Soto, senior recruiter for Green Thumb Industries
  • Beniamino Capellupo, Executive Director for Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • Paul Lee, one of the founding owners of Dispensary33
  • Shawnee Williams, a recruiter and account executive for Illinois Equity Staffing

 PANEL 6: NAVIGATING CITY OF CHICAGO REGULATIONS (1:45PM – 2:45PM)

An overview of all the different city processes you have to understand in order to become a cannabis entrepreneur in the City.

Featuring:

  • Paul Stewart, an Assistant Deputy Mayor and the City of Chicago’s Cannabis Coordinator
  • Katriina McGuire, a Partner at Thompson Coburn
  • Steve Valenziano, the Assistant Zoning Administrator for the City of Chicago

Registration

Residents and businesses interested in attending the City’s upcoming Cannabis Resource Fair can register on EventBrite. This event is free to the public. To learn more about the legalization of cannabis in Chicago, residents can also visit Chicago.gov/cannabis.

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