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Illinois Lawmakers Ban Marijuana in Restaurants and Bars

Public toking will be restricted to licensed cannabis dispensaries and smoke shops

A white man smoking a joint.
No weed for Illinois restaurants and bars, say lawmakers.

Illinois lawmakers killed the buzz of potential weed restaurants, bars, and other venues yesterday by changing the state law they passed last spring, restricting public consumption of marijuana to dispensaries and specific smoke shops, the Sun-Times reported. Smoking pot will be verboten in restaurants, bars, and other social venues after legalization on January 1, in cooperation with the Smoke Free Illinois Act, legislation that bans smoking in virtually all public spaces.

Licensed cannabis dispensaries and smoke shops will operate along the lines of a cigar shop, where customers can purchase and partake in one fell swoop. That means Chicagoans won’t see ventures like Los Angeles’ Lowell Cafe, the country’s first licensed cannabis restaurant. California law keeps chefs from infusing cannabis into the food itself, but the restaurant is also a dispensary and “flower hosts” will roll joints for diners table-side.

Marijuana-friendly Chicago chefs are a shrewd bunch, but this latest move from legislators may call for some creative problem-solving on the part of cooks who want to make hay of Illinois’ fast-approaching January 1 green wave.