Rockford reinvests adult-use cannabis tax revenue

Cannabis revenue benefits the Stateline.
Cannabis revenue benefits the Stateline.(WIFR)
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 5:03 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Cannabis sales in Illinois brought in $1.5 billion in tax revenue this year, nearly double 2021′s total. That money goes straight to local governments for distribution to targeted organizations.

“Yes we are spending that money,” said Mayor Tom McNamara.

Rockford’s Mayor is talking about millions of dollars in tax revenue the city gets from adult-use cannabis sales. He says it helps to tackle some of the city’s biggest issues.

“That revenue has all been allocated to distressed areas or to individuals most impacted by the failed war on drugs,” McNamara said.

McNamara says the city already distributed the revenue to many local organizations.

“Quite frankly we’re using a lot of it as crime prevention and intervention strategies. So our partnerships with like New Genres and Boys and Girls Club-that’s targeted, our partnerships with park district-targeted again. \So we have a whole host of partnerships but yes we are spending that money.”

And the money is on it’s way.

“The YMCA, I believe off Rockton (Avenue) is receiving $150,000 I believe over the next two years.”

Some eager area business owners hope that windfall trickles down.

“It’s really putting ownership back into communities that really represents all what all of Illinois is and it’s getting money back into a lot of community projects that are helping out all the citizens here in the state,” said Erik Carlson.

Carlson owns Mrs. Buckbee’s Wake-N-Bakery and feels more people accept recreational marijuana use. And that translates to an increase in sales.

“People literally come into the store and they say ‘I can’t believe it, I’m walking into a store like this, I never thought I would,’ and they giggle and we see them again the next week because guess what, it’s not that scary and not that different,” Carlson said.

And the enthusiasm is contagious.

“Other states already are picking up on this trend, this definitely happening across the country, 38 states are legal in some form or another and I fully anticipate this will be federally legal,” Carlson said.

The state recently granted more than a hundred new cannabis licenses. Carlson says that will almost double the state’s dispensary count overnight.

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