When you search for the definition of "cash crops" you get a pretty simple explanation.

Oxford Dictionary defines it as "a crop produced for its commercial value rather than for use by the grower." Merriam Webster gives, as an example of cash crops, "rice, corn, wheat, cotton and coffee."

Here in Illinois, you can add recreational marijuana to the list of things that are definitely cash crops. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDPR) reports that for the fiscal year that just ended on June 30th, Illinois took in $369.7 million in cannabis taxes.

Since weed went legal in Illinois in January of 2020, overall sales figures are hovering around $1.1 billion, according to the IDPR.


The total tax revenue the Illinois Comptroller's office reports for fiscal year 2021 was $317 million for the full twelve-month cycle that ended June 30. Last year, with only six months of legal sales, the state saw around $52.7 million in taxes. That makes the total amount of taxes reported so far more than $369.7 million.

There's no getting around the popularity of recreational marijuana in our state. When you consider that legalization took place right before the start of the pandemic and in-person shopping was basically banned for a couple of months, it's pretty amazing that sales continue to climb when you compare month over month. The IDPR says that total sales for May of this year were close to $116.4 million. That's almost $1.5 million more than was sold in April.

So, where does this windfall of tax revenue go? The IDPR says that over a third of the revenue goes to the state’s general revenue fund. Ten percent goes to the state’s unpaid bills. Eight percent goes to law enforcement and two percent goes to cannabis public safety campaigns. Local governmental bodies can tack on an additional sale tax of 3%.

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