How does Illinois spend its millions in marijuana tax revenue?
April 20 marks Illinois’ fourth high holiday with recreational marijuana. Here’s how cannabis tax dollars are used. March’s monthly sales topped $135 million.
Illinois is in its fourth year of legal cannabis, and it’s meant millions in revenue for the state. But where do those tax dollars end up?
Four places. Here’s the breakdown.
Reinvestment: Restore Reinvest Renew (R3) grant funds are designated for Illinois communities that have been affected by “violence, excessive incarceration, and economic disinvestment.”
Reinvestment money also goes to the Illinois Department of Human Services' community services fund.
Statewide budget support: The Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the “rainy day” fund, and general revenue funds get the same amount as community reinvestment receives each year.
- Cannabis Expungement Fund, which helps people expunge previous “minor cannabis convictions” from their records.
- Local Government Distributive Fund: An 8% share of the money left after administrative and expungement costs are taken out goes to local communities.
- Department of Human Services' Drug Treatment and Education fund
Total sales reached nearly $135 million in March, with $101 million coming from Illinoisans and nearly $34 million from out-of-state residents.
It seems like a huge payday until you compare it to Illinois’ $140 billion pension debt, the highest in the nation.
There would be less need for sin taxes and more revenue available for public services were state lawmakers committed to reforming pension spending growth, which has increased by 584% since 2000.
For reference, total spending has grown by 21% in that time and other services relied upon by some of the state’s most vulnerable have been cut by 20%.
High taxes will always be an issue as long as spending increases at an irresponsible and unsustainable rate.