UIC Law Launches Social Equity Cannabis Initiative with Attorney S.L. Owens

Chicago, Illinois, May 04, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Attorney S.L. Owens has joined the Community Enterprise & Solidarity Economy Clinic at UIC John Marshall Law School as its newest staff attorney. Owens will lead the Social Equity Cannabis Initiative, designed by the CESEC in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The goal of the Initiative is to reduce the legal barriers of entry into the emerging Illinois cannabis market for communities harmed by the war on drugs.

The CESEC is a legal clinic located within UIC Law, which represents worker-owned cooperative businesses, non-profits and small businesses that operate for the benefit of an underserved community. Clients promote equity, practice democratic decision-making and build sustainability in their neighborhoods. 

Owens is a first-generation attorney, and Chicago native, who brings a wealth of knowledge about cannabis law to the CESEC from her previous practice experience in Colorado and her recent community-based work on Chicago’s Westside. She is a skilled business and regulatory attorney with experience representing small startups and nonprofits in addition to complex franchise, distribution and supply chain systems.

Owens is committed to economic justice and inspiring law students. While in law school at the University of Wisconsin, Owens used her executive service positions to increase diversity on the Wisconsin Law Review and the Wisconsin Moot Court Board by implementing inaugural diversity boards and policies.

After law school, Owens represented multinational corporations inside big law firms. Before joining the CESEC, she operated a family-owned law firm engaged in economic justice work across Illinois, Wisconsin and Colorado. In addition to her J.D., Owens holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship.

Under the Social Equity Cannabis Initiative, the CESEC provides the following services to help Social Equity Applicants understand the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act and other cannabis-related laws: legal representation; brief advising; and legal technical assistance workshops. The Initiative hosted multiple presentations this Spring to help Social Equity Applicants navigate the delayed Illinois licensing process, including: Understanding Illinois Cannabis Business Licensing Delays; Top Tips: Responding to Deficiency Notices; and Legislative Advocacy: Changing Illinois Cannabis Laws.

“We are thrilled to welcome S.L. Owens to the Clinic,” said Professor Renee Hatcher, Director of the CESEC. “S.L.’s knowledge, cannabis law experience and life-long connection to social equity communities here in Chicago are an invaluable asset to the growth and success of the Initiative and UIC Law students.”

To learn more about the Social Equity Cannabis Initiative visit - https://jmls.uic.edu/experiential-education/clinics/community-enterprise/special-projects/illinois-social-equity-cannabis-initiative/

About UIC John Marshall Law School
UIC Law is the 16th college at the University of Illinois at Chicago—Chicago’s largest university and its only public Carnegie Research 1 institution. Located in the heart of the City’s legal, financial and commercial districts, UIC Law is recognized as one of the most diverse law schools in the nation and is a leader in providing access to underrepresented students.


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