State’s cut of pot jackpot will hit $127 million, Pritzker’s new budget predicts

Pritzker touted the “successful first month” of recreational weed sales in January, during which 41 dispensaries sold nearly $40 million in recreational pot amid a pervasive supply shortage.

SHARE State’s cut of pot jackpot will hit $127 million, Pritzker’s new budget predicts
The first batch of customers make their purchases at Rise Joliet. A new ordinance aims to streamline the zoning process to attract a flood of new cannabis license winners.

Customers bought nearly $40 worth of recreational pot in January.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file photo

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed $42 billion budget includes nearly $127 million in revenues from recreational cannabis sales.

Nearly $100 million of that cash is expected to come from retail sales between July 1 and June 30, 2021. Of that, $36 million will go toward the state’s General Revenue Fund and another $10 million will be put toward the state’s massive bill backlog.

Roughly $25 million more will fund the Restore, Reinvest and Renew Program, which was established to finance initiatives focused on unemployment and preventing violence and recidivism. The remaining money will be used to fund mental health and substance abuse services, public education and awareness campaigns and a police grant program.

The other $27 million in projected tax dollars will come from wholesale sales and be used to fund the regulation of the program.

Pritzker touted the “successful first month” of sales in January, when customers spent nearly $40 million on recreational pot at 41 dispensaries despite a pervasive supply shortage. Nationally, those figures were only topped by the roughly $70 million in recreational sales recorded in California in 2018, according to Andy Seeger, an analyst at the Brightfield Group, a Loop-based cannabis research firm.

However, the state’s cut from those sales won’t be made public for at least a week, according to Illinois Department of Revenue spokesman Sam Salustro. That’s because dispensaries aren’t required to fork over the cash owed until Thursday.

Last year, Pritzker used his first budget address to push his pro-pot agenda and propose $170 million in revenues from weed-related fees. He took a victory lap on Wednesday, labeling the pot law that followed as “the most socially equitable in the nation.”

“We worked on a bipartisan basis to pass a new source of general funds revenue and create tens of thousands of jobs with the legalization of adult-use cannabis,” he said.

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