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

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

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

Covid ravaged the town’s tax base

The job furloughs had appeared inevitable, given the way in which the coronavirus had ravaged the Windy Metropolis. Issues had been so bleak that Lightfoot stated the layoffs had been a “next-to-last resort”—a property tax improve being the final—to shut a yawning $2 billion price range shortfall.

As a substitute, she stated, revenues generated by the hashish gross sales have “gone by the roof,” exceeding $100 million in Illinois for the primary time in October and reaching $800 million statewide over the ten months for the reason that gross sales began at the start of the 12 months.

Bonding towards future hashish income

Right here’s what these gross sales achieved in Chicago: Lots of of metropolis workers get to maintain working. The town will as a substitute create a bond towards a “conservative estimate” of future marijuana revenues as strategy 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 price range.” However in any other case it was hashish gross sales to the rescue.

That’s even supposing 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 for the reason that 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 within the nation. A neighborhood tax layered over a state tax implies that eighths can price upwards of $75. Critics level out that this might drive patrons again into the illicit market.

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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 Brokers With the World’s Most Charming Con Man.

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