Illinois has hit a marijuana tax milestone, the state announced on Tuesday, collecting more than $100 million in revenue from cannabis sales since the recreational legalization program launched this year.
In spite of the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois has seen record-breaking marijuana sales month-over-month, contributing to the significant tax revenue that’s being used to fund local governments and restorative justice programs.
As of August, the last month for which tax data has been calculated for the adult-use market, the state has taken in about $106 million in revenue, the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) said.
— ILDeptOfRevenue (@ILDeptofRevenue) October 13, 2020
“Thanks to those who have carefully overseen this brand-new industry’s successful launch in Illinois, revenue is flowing to local governments, to drug treatment programs and law enforcement, and being reinvested in our communities hit hardest by the failed policies of the past,” IDOR Director David Harris said in a press release.
About 25 percent of the tax dollars collected are designated for restorative justice grants, while other funds will support substance misuse and mental health treatment. The state announced in May that it was making about $31 million in social equity grants available to communities identified as economically distressed.
Based on the sales trajectory over the past eight months, it seems the state is well-situated to continue to make those investments. In September alone, Illinois residents and out-of-state visitors spent a collective $67.6 million on adult-use cannabis products.
The department also noted that “at least $16.1 million [of the marijuana tax revenue] will be directed to county and local governments with more on the way.”
Sales data over the course of the year seems to support the notion that the state’s cannabis market is “recession-proof” and “pandemic-proof,” as a top regulator said in August.
Prior to the implementation of the state’s marijuana system, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) pardoned more than 11,000 people with prior cannabis convictions. And he said last week that he will be granting more acts of marijuana clemency in the future.