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In this Sept. 15, 2015, file photo, Ashley Thompson inspects marijuana plants inside the “Mother Room” at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill.

Seth Perlman

Newsletter: Can Illinois Spread The Wealth With Weed?

Good afternoon, it’s Tuesday! And do you want to be on the radio? Call 312-948-4688 and leave a voicemail telling us why you enjoy this newsletter, and we might play your message on air. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. Can Illinois achieve social equity in the recreational pot industry?

That’s a big question being asked not just locally but across the nation as the land of Lincoln prepares to legalize recreational marijuana on Jan. 1.

Illinois is the first state to attach social equity goals to legislation legalizing weed, and states that have struggled to boost minority participation in the pot industry are closely watching to see if Illinois’ approach works.

Crain’s Chicago Business has this fascinating report that looks into problems that are already emerging, namely with the “byzantine, tedious application that could take hundreds of pages to complete.” A 32-year-old teacher who is applying for a license under the equity program said consultants are charging between $40,000 to $275,000 to help applicants through the process.

“How do you expect any of us as social equity applicants to have that kind of money?” she said. [Crain’s]

2. Will Pompeo testify in impeachment inquiry?

President Donald Trump sparked the idea by tweeting he’d like to see U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and several other administration officials testify before House impeachment investigators.

“When the time is right, all good things happen,” Pompeo said when asked by reporters if he would testify.

Trump also claimed the White House objected to congressional subpoenas out of concern for the institution of the presidency.

Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee, which is responsible for drafting articles of impeachment, announced it will hold its first impeachment hearing on Dec. 4.

And the Justice Department is appealing a federal ruling that former White House counsel Donald McGahn must comply with a House subpoena. [Washington Post]

3. Dorothy Brown’s effort to “modernize” her office goes pretty much how you’d expect

Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown’s office appears to be in disarray after an effort to upgrade the office’s systems at a Southwest Side courthouse caused long lines, missing paperwork in court files and poorly trained staff, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Brown, who is not running for reelection, has long been criticized for not updating her office, which still relies on … carbon paper. As if the situation couldn’t get any worse, the new system doesn’t allow electronic filing of court documents.

And here is the best quote of the day: “No one’s expecting a criminal search with Amazon Prime functionality here, but peoples’ liberty is literally on the line,” said a former county prosecutor who is now a defense attorney. [Chicago Tribune]

4. UN report gives dire warning on rising greenhouse gases

The United Nations report says there is no sign that global emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases will slow down anytime soon, and that means more drastic actions are needed in order to prevent a climate catastrophe.

The report offers a number of recommendations, such as expanding public mass transit, banning new coal-fired power plants and requiring all new vehicles to be CO2-free by 2030. [NPR]

5. U.S. life expectancy drops as more Americans die young

Americans are increasingly dying at a younger age, according to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The report found that death rates from suicide, drug overdoses and several other causes have spiked over the past decade for young and middle-aged adults. Health officials say there is no “smoking gun” to the escalation.

“The fact that that number is climbing, there’s something terribly wrong,” said the lead author of the report. [Washington Post]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Some ride-share trips in Chicago will cost more after Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s budget sailed through the City Council today. [WBEZ]

  • Bad weather could complicate Thanksgiving travel plans. [Chicago Tribune]

  • The Catholic Diocese of Gary, Indiana, will have a new bishop. [WBEZ]

  • Here’s a look at why pardoning turkeys became a tradition for presidents on Thanksgiving. [NPR]

Oh, and one more thing …

There might be a notable absence at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: the famous giant balloons, which could be sidelined because of high winds.

The National Weather Service expects the New York region will see winds of up to 25 mph and wind gusts of up to 38 mph on Thanksgiving Day. According to New York City regulations, the big balloons can’t take off if winds exceed 23 mph and wind gusts are more than 34 mph.

Those regulations were put in place after a 1997 incident when a balloon of the Cat in the Hat flew into a street lamp post, causing it to break and fall on spectators. One of the four people injured was a woman who spent a month in a coma.

Balloons in the Macy’s parade have only been grounded once — in 1971. [New York Times]

Tell me something good ...

Thanksgiving is just days away, and I’d like to know what’s your favorite thing to eat on the big day.

Kerrie writes:

“No contest - sweet potato casserole.”

And Evelyn Mytyk writes:

“Favorite thing to eat: Mom’s bread dressing. No matter what my plans are, I make up a pan and savor every last morsel.”

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes? Feel free to email at or tweet to @whuntah.

Have a nice night! I’ll see you tomorrow. And if you like what you just read, you can subscribe to the newsletter here and have it delivered to your inbox.

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