The worth of hashish gross sales to a authorities are normally expressed in chilly financial phrases: the tens of millions of {dollars} that stream into public coffers over the course of a month or 12 months. Once in some time, although, the world will get a visceral reminder of what these revenues can really imply.

Cannabis gross sales have raised $800 million in tax income statewide this 12 months.

The metropolis of Chicago supplied a vivid instance final Saturday. Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced that she had cancelled plans to eliminate 350 city jobs due to the windfall town acquired because of gross sales of leisure and medical marijuana. The cuts would have come by way of a combination of layoffs and furloughs, plus the elimination of some vacant positions.

Covid ravaged town’s tax base

The job furloughs had appeared inevitable, given the best way the coronavirus had ravaged the Windy City. Things have been so bleak that Lightfoot mentioned the layoffs have been a “next-to-last resort”—a property tax enhance being the final—to shut a yawning $2 billion finances shortfall.

Instead, she mentioned, revenues generated by the hashish gross sales have “gone through the roof,” exceeding $100 million in Illinois for the primary time in October and reaching $800 million statewide over the 10 months because the gross sales began firstly of the 12 months.

Bonding in opposition to future hashish income

Here’s what these gross sales achieved in Chicago: Hundreds of metropolis workers get to maintain working. The metropolis will as a substitute create a bond in opposition to a “conservative estimate” of future marijuana revenues as solution to take care of the shortfall.

Non-union metropolis workers incomes $100,000 or extra—together with the mayor and aldermen—will nonetheless be required to take 5 unpaid furlough days as a part of Lightfoots’s “pandemic budget.” But in any other case it was hashish gross sales to the rescue.

That’s even though Illinois has some points with its hashish program. The state has licensed only existing medical-marijuana operators to promote adult-use hashish to the general public because the begin of this system on January 1. That has led different would-be retailers to sue for entry.

And Illinois’ hashish taxes are among the many highest in the nation. A neighborhood tax layered over a state tax signifies that eighths can price upwards of $75. Critics level out that this might drive consumers again into the illicit market.

Dave Howard

Dave Howard is a nationwide journal editor and award-winning creator. His most up-to-date e book is Chasing Phil: The Adventures of Two Undercover Agents With the World’s Most Charming Con Man.

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