Illinois Grabs $62 Million For Neighborhoods From Weed Tax Money
I've heard lots of people ask where the tax money from the sales of recreational marijuana products here in Illinois is going. With sales of nearly a billion dollars in 2020, we've got to have a pretty decent pile of cash to spread around, wouldn't you think?
A story published by NBC 5 Chicago about $62 million of cannabis tax revenue got my attention this morning, prompting the overall question about where weed tax money is supposed to go here in Illinois.
NBC 5 Chicago's story says that our state has that $62 million collected and earmarked for neighborhood development and minority businesses, but that money has yet to be spent on those things. State Senator Heather Steans was one of the lawmakers behind making recreational marijuana sales happen in Illinois, and she told NBC 5 Chicago:
“I’m certainly hoping those dollars get out as soon as possible. We did a lot to make this the most equitable cannabis system in the country. … We haven’t seen the results yet we wanted in any of those areas, so we obviously need to stay on it."
If you're thinking that Illinois should have more than just $62 million in weed tax revenue to spread around, you're absolutely right.
Sales of recreational marijuana began in January 2020 and about $175 million has been collected in taxes through December, according to the state’s Department of Revenue.
As you might imagine, there are more than a few hands reaching out for some of that money pile here in Illinois. Week.com published a piece right after legalization nearly a year ago, listing the different places that recreational marijuana tax money is supposed to go, along with what percentage of the overall tax take they'll get.
The Week.com's piece lists where else the money goes, along with the percentages:
- 25% will go towards Restore, Reinvest and Renew, focusing on violence prevention, re-entry and health services.
- 20% for mental health and substance abuse care.
- 10% for Illinois bills that have gone unpaid, also known as the "bill backlog."
- 8% for law enforcement.
- 2% for marijuana education and safety campaigns, as well as data analysis
Other states have residents that are asking similar questions about where their tax money is going, too: