TV6 INVESTIGATES: Where tax dollars from recreational marijuana in Illinois will go

Published: Jan. 7, 2020 at 7:13 PM CST
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The first week of legal recreational marijuana sales in Illinois brought in nearly $11 million dollars.

The state estimates that number could reach $57 million in the first year alone.

Rep. Mike Halpin (D-Rock Island) says, "It makes much more sense just to go down to the dispensary like you would for any other product you're trying to buy."

Whether you smoke cannabis, ingest it in the form of edibles, or avoid it entirely, there could be economic benefits right in the community you live in.

Halpin says, "Both the states and our local government can benefit from this."

Similar to alcohol, recreational marijuana sales are taxed.

The rate of tax on each purchase varies depending on the amount of THC a cannabis product contains.

All recreational cannabis products that contain 35 percent or less THC will be taxed 10-percent.

Recreational cannabis that contains 35 percent or more will be taxed 25-percent.

Additionally, any cannabis-infused product is taxed at a rate of 20-percent.

Aside from the products individually taxed, growers and cultivators will also be taxed at a rate of seven percent.

Picture this: if they sell $100,000 worth of cannabis to a dispensary, they would pay $7,000 in taxes on that sale.

"So if you're a grower there are certain excise taxes on you as a grower when it comes to the dispensary side there's also a retail sales tax," says Halpin.

If a town or city has a dispensary or a growing license or transport license, they can impose sales tax on that property, some of which the state will see income from.

But the real question many people are asking is, where does all of this money go?

Halpin says, "One thing I hear a lot is worry that it's going to be over-taxed and it's going maintain a black market. Data I had seen showed in Colorado for example has vastly reduced in the state black market."

Tax revenue will be deposited in the new “Cannabis Regulation Fund.”

State agencies that oversee the adult-use cannabis program will receive resources to cover costs. These resources will come from taxes collected.

The remaining revenue will be split by giving 35-percent to the general revenue fund, 25-percent to a program called Report, Reinvest, and Renew (R3), which focuses on violence prevention, re-entry, and health services across the state. Another 20-percent will be for the purpose of addressing substance abuse and prevention and mental health concerns.

Halpin says, “We’ve got an estimated 57-million in revenue for fiscal year 20 that we’re in and how it will be up in July.”

"We're hopeful that the process will generate more revenue over time as we more fully implement and more and more communities see the benefits,” he explains.