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Recreational weed sales raised over $10 million in tax revenues in first month

Those sales generated $7.3 million in cannabis tax revenue and another $3.1 million in retail sales tax revenue.

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. Sun-Times file

The first month sales of recreational marijuana generated over $10 million in tax revenues, officials said Monday.

Dispensaries across the state sold nearly $40 million in recreational pot last month, marking the second-largest first month rollout in the country’s history. Those sales generated $7.3 million in cannabis tax revenue and another $3.1 million in retail sales tax revenue, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue.

The state is now on track to surpass the $28 million Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget estimated the state would collect in weed taxes between January and the end of June, officials said.

After covering administrative costs, 35% of the cannabis tax revenue will go toward the state’s general revenue fund and another 10% will be spent on unpaid bills.

Another 25% of that money will fund the Restore, Reinvest and Renew Program, which was established to finance initiatives focused on unemployment and preventing violence and recidivism. The other 30% will be used to fund mental health and substance abuse services, public education and awareness campaigns and a police grant program.

Toi Hutchinson, Pritzker’s senior adviser on cannabis control, said the administration sought to use legalization as a means to bolster social equity and create “new opportunities for the communities most harmed by the failed war on drugs.”

“Revenue raised in this first month will soon begin flowing back into those communities to begin repairing the damage done by the failed policies of the past and creating new opportunities for those who have been left behind for far too long,” Hutchinson added.

The remaining tax money will be split between the state’s general revenue fund and localities where the pot sales were made.

Last week, Pritzker proposed a $42 billion budget for the next fiscal year starting in July that includes nearly $127 million in revenues from recreational cannabis sales.