Steep pot prices will get even higher in some Illinois communities come Jan. 1

At least 10 cities and two counties around the state voted to add local taxes to the cost of weed, including Arlington Heights and Carbondale.

SHARE Steep pot prices will get even higher in some Illinois communities come Jan. 1
A customer shows the products he bought at Verilife Marijuana Dispensary

Taxes are going up on weed in some locations in Illinois.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Sky-high pot prices will increase even more at the start of the year in two Illinois cities.

Ten municipalities and two counties will levy an additional tax on recreational weed sales at the start of the year. Though most of those places don’t currently have dispensaries, the new retailers taxes will affect sales at PharmaCann’s Verilife store in Arlington Heights and the Consume location in Carbondale and any future stores that open.

Cannabis consultant Andy Seeger complained that “prices are already way too high” across Illinois, adding that the new taxes will likely “narrow margins even more for the still nonexistent legal adult-use supply chain participants.” In Chicago, an eighth of an ounce of cannabis flower can cost as much as $80 after taxes.

Meanwhile, officials in Arlington Heights plan to impose the maximum 3% local retailers tax, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue. That will be added to the maximum 3% retailers tax imposed by Cook County, a 13% combined sales tax and a state excise tax of 10-25%, depending on the amount of mind-altering THC.

That combined rate of up to 44% trumps even Chicago, where taxes can now exceed 41% after dispensaries began tacking on the additional county and local taxes in July.

In Jackson County in southern Illinois, where Carbondale is the most populous city, municipalities will be subject to an additional tax of less than 1%, according to data provided by the IDOR. Starting Jan. 1, customers at Consume can expect to pay up to 35% in taxes.

Unincorporated portions of Jackson County will tax those sales at 1.5%, far less than the 3.75% allowed in those areas, the IDOR said.

While Ogle County doesn’t currently have any dispensaries, officials are imposing the maximum tax rates on localities and unincorporated areas. So are municipalities clearly looking to squeeze much-needed revenue out of the newly legalized drug.

The move comes as existing dispensary operators search for secondary locations and applicants for the next round of 75 pot shop licenses await their fate. Among the localities preemptively imposing new taxes are Glenwood, Hazel Crest, Prospect Heights, Rosemont, Tinley Park and Westchester. 

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