SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The state of Illinois has collected $52 million in taxes from legal adult-use marijuana sales.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office says Tuesday that $34.7 million is coming from excise taxes.
The state charges a variety of taxes on marijuana depending on the amount of THC, the ingredient that gets you high. Tax ranges from 10% - 20% at retail locations.
The state also charges a 7% tax to cultivators on the sale of cannabis to retailers.
The Cook County Board approved an additional 3% tax on recreational marijuana sales throughout the county. That tax went into effect July 1.
$52 MILLION in tax revenue from weed in just 6 months. And think of some of the challenges surrounding legalized weed that we've seen. #1, the dispensaries seemingly NEVER had weed at the start. Demand was through the roof. Lines were around the block. Weed itself was sold out. Secondly, coronavirus. I don't know how exactly coronavirus impacted marijuana sales, but it definitely did. Third...I am sure people are still using their illicit source for drugs because of reasons 1 and 2. 1, people need their weed. 2, it's hard out there right now, even for drug dealers. Having a personal relationship matters. And the third reason...it's cheaper because Cook County, of course, has voted to put an additional 3% tax on weed already. That is insane. Chicago couldn't even give it one year before raising taxes.
All and all, GREAT news. $52 MILLION. We are saved!
And while the state of Illinois has a long history of underfunding its pension plans (in 1969, its funded status was more or less the same as now — 42% vs. 40%), the debt in 1970, when the new constitution was put into place, was $1.5 billion.
The projected 2020 debt? $139 billion.
I am not an economist. I don't know how bad it is to be in debt to the tune of $140 billion. I do know what numbers look like though and...
52,000,000 looks like a big number until you see 139,000,000,000.
Better get that legalized gambling revenue rolling if the state is going to survive.