Marijuana sales and tax revenue in Illinois increased 50% in the last year

Recreational marijuana sales and tax revenue owed in Illinois soared 50% in the last fiscal year, the state reported.

State-licensed dealers generated $445 million in taxes owed on about $1.5 billion in cannabis sales in the year ended June 30.

Weed taxes owed to local governments also saw a significant jump, increasing 77% from $83 million to $146 million.

Governor JB Pritzker released a statement that a significant portion of the money will be “reinvested in communities that have suffered for decades.”

By state law, 25% of cannabis sales taxes go to areas that are poor, violent, or have high rates of drug arrests.

So far, Illinois has awarded $113 million in cannabis grants to help underserved communities with programs like violence prevention and mental health, through the Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) Program.

Monthly cannabis sales in the state have seen a slight decline in the past two months, but are still significantly higher than last year and have generally increased steadily since legalization took effect in 2020.

With the state issuing preliminary licenses for 149 new recreational dispensaries on Friday after many delays, sales are likely to continue to rise.

By comparison, the state’s medical cannabis program, which began in 2015, has leveled off, with retail sales of $180 million so far this calendar year.

Despite rising sales across the country, the stock prices of large marijuana companies have plummeted over the past year as they grappled with various financial and regulatory issues and continued federal criminalization of cannabis.

rmccoppin@chicagotribune.com

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