Devon Reid.

Hopes that Evanston would permit cannabis lounges went up in smoke Monday night in the face of a strong commitment by several alders to the city’s clean air ordinance.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) pitched the smoking establishments as a matter of equity, saying lower income residents, who disproportionately are minorities, might have no other legal place to smoke weed if their rental apartments bar smoking, since the city also bans open-air smoking of cannabis.

But Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd), the only member on the council when it imposed the indoor smoking ban in 2006, said, “I’m a hard no” to permitting the lounges.

Wynne noted that the existence of edible cannabis products means there are ways to consume the drug without smoking it.

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) said she agreed with Wynne, adding that if the city permitted businesses where cannabis could be smoked it would then have no logical reason to continue its ban on hookah lounges for tobacco smoking.

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) said that in addition to the air quality and public health implications, he’s concerned about the image of Evanston if establishments that encourage smoking of cannabis are allowed here.

The lounge proposal died on a 4-2 vote in the Planning and Development Committee and did not advance to the full City Council.

Reid was joined by Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) in voting for the proposal.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. And the crazy council continues. I wonder where common sense has gone. Cannabis lounges have nothing to do with clean air and environmental friendliness. The smoke is confined to the store. They also have nothing to do with racial equity any more than does a fried chicken restaurant. They are spaces for the consumption of a legal substance much like a bar or a restaurant that serves alcohol. I truly wonder what Evanston has become.

  2. “ Reid was joined by Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) in voting for the proposal.”

    It’s a shame that Reid and Burns have high jacked the term equity and continue to divide with their antics and baseless claims.

    While I tend to agree with Peter H’s comment above, I’m still pleased to see that the rest of the council shed their fear and had the hutspa to vote against this fake equity issue.

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