Afternoon Edition: April 12, 2021on April 12, 2021 at 8:00 pm

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 63 degrees, but breezy, with wind gusts as high as 30 mph. Tonight’s low will be around 41 degrees. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 57.

Top story

An unregulated, weed-like drug dubbed ‘CBD on crack’ has spiked in popularity. Now the legal pot industry is calling for a crackdown.

There’s a new high in town.

A growing number of Chicago businesses are now exploiting a loophole in federal law that appears to allow the unfettered sale of a trendy hemp byproduct called Delta-8-THC, which has commonly been described as “marijuana-lite” or “diet weed.”

Retailers across the city have started selling a variety of Delta-8 products in settings that resemble licensed cannabis dispensaries but aren’t subject to the same stiff regulations. Many sell everything from edibles to vaping cartridges, as well as smokable hemp flower sprayed with Delta-8 extract.

Some places are dosing food and drinks with Delta-8 and allowing customers to consume it on site. That flies in the face of a hard-fought provision in the state’s marijuana legalization law that tightly regulates on-site consumption, which isn’t allowed in Chicago yet.

Those spots have become extremely popular — with lines stretching down the block.

“People travel to Chicago because it’s Chicago and they make it a point to stop here because of the vibe,” said Adryan Delgado, the manager of Wake-N-Bakery, a coffee shop in Lake View that sells drinks and pastries infused with Delta-8 and CBD.

Waits can be 30 minutes to get inside, he said.

Delta-8 is similar to Delta-9-THC, the psychoactive compound in weed that gets users high, though it’s extracted from hemp and not marijuana. Those selling Delta-8 claim it has all the upsides of pot and none of the buzz-killing side effects, like anxiety and paranoia.

Entrepreneurs seized on Delta-8 after the federal Farm Bill of 2018 made legal the distribution and sale of hemp and its byproducts. That law explicitly excluded Delta-9, but there’s no mention of its mellower relative.

Read Tom Schuba’s full story for more on the legal pot industry’s calls for a crackdown on the Delta-8-THC market.

More news you need

  1. High school teachers and staff returned to in-person work today, but could revert to remote teaching on Wednesday if a deal isn’t reached with Chicago Public Schools on a reopening plan. About 26,000 high school students are expected back next week.
  2. Illinois’ COVID-19 positivity rate has reached its highest point since mid-January, climbing to 4.4% today since hitting a statewide low of 2.1% on March 13. Officials continue to warn that rising numbers could lead to restrictions being put on businesses again.
  3. City officials were closely involved three years ago in numerous steps leading up to the controversial relocation of the car-shredding operations of General Iron to the Southeast Side, a review of hundreds of pages of emails shows. Those emails are being scrutinized in two federal civil rights complaints that allege environmental racism.
  4. The Silver Room Block Club Party, one of the main events on summer’s social calendar for many Black Chicagoans, won’t happen for the second straight year. Eric Williams, owner of the Silver Room in Hyde Park, cited COVID-19 and business concerns for canceling the event.
  5. With less than two weeks until the 2021 Academy Awards, our Richard Roeper revealed his predictions for all 23 categories. Look at who Roeper sees winning Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress and more.

A bright one

After Kamala Harris visit, business jumps at Brown Sugar Bakery on Chicago’s South Side

Since Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Brown Sugar Bakery on the South Side last Tuesday to throw a spotlight on small Black female-owned businesses, in-store retail sales jumped 21% overall and online sales increased 88%, according to owner Stephanie Hart.

Harris made a brief stop outside the bakery at 328 E. 75th en route back to Midway Airport after she toured a COVID-19 vaccination center at 2260 S. Grove St., organized by the Chicago Federation of Labor.

She picked up a slice of German chocolate cake – her favorite – and the bakery staff presented her with two trays of caramel, strawberry and lemon cupcakes.

Stephanie Hart, owner of Brown Sugar Bakery, shows off a cake in her shop on 75th Street. Vice President Kamala Harris stopped by the bakery Tuesday.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The stop generated enormous publicity for the bakery and gave a boost to all of 75th Street. It also resulted in a real time positive economic impact for a business that had to shut down for a few months last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hart said “the absolute best part” of Harris coming to Brown Sugar was “the enthusiasm of the neighborhood, how included they felt and how they were amazed that the vice president would come to 75th Street for anything.”

Read Lynn Sweet’s full story here.

From the press box

The Blackhawks had a busy day leading up to the NHL trade deadline at 2 p.m., making four different trades:

And Patrick Finley looks at running backs in the latest part of our Bears beat writers’ position-by-position breakdown of the roster ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Your daily question ?

What’s been the hardest part of life in a pandemic for your kids?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

On Friday, we asked you: What’s your favorite part of living in a city on the water? Here’s what some of you said…

“Sailing on Lake Michigan with some good summer tunes.” — Devendra Owens

“Sitting on a rooftop feeling the lake breeze. Also watching the boats and fireworks on the lake from the roof.” — Lisa Barnes

“Looking at it against the skyline on a clear sunny day.” — Andrea Fulgham

“It’s calming.” — Jackie Waldhier

“Water sports! Swimming, kayaking, sailing.” — Erika Hoffmann

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