EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) — Two new businesses, West Town Bakery and OKAY Cannabis Dispensary, at the corner of Chicago Avenue and Howard will be directing their tax revenue into the fund to pay reparations to Evanston residents.
“Profit and purpose don’t have to be at odds with one another,” said OKAY Cannabis CEO Ameya Pawar.
OKAY Cannabis is a social equity dispensary that is minority owned. Pawar is co-owner and CEO of both businesses, and said they purposefully chose to open in Evanston.
“We wanted to open in a community that was going actually repair the harms of the racist war on drugs, to find ways to repair harms of slavery and institutional racism,” he said.
Evanston began its mission of reparations in 2020, but at the time the revenue from a single dispensary’s taxes wasn’t enough. Since then, the city approved a real estate transfer tax designated for reparations.
Taxes from this second dispensary are expected to more fully support the city’s commitment to reparations.
“If you are willing to tell the truth to yourself about your own past that can paint an ethical and just way forward,” said Mayor