Chicago wants to charge maximum 3% tax on recreational marijuana sales

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposed in her 2020 budget that the city impose the maximum local tax of 3% on recreational marijuana sales, a levy that would come on top of a state sales tax and a retail tax based on product potency and type.

Marijuana Policy Project has calculated that the total retail marijuana tax paid by consumers in Illinois will range from 19.55% to 34.75%, causing concerns by some that high taxes will dampen sales and make it more difficult to drive out the illicit market.

Cannabis products also will be subject to a wholesale tax of 7%.

Crain’s Chicago Business points that it isn’t surprising that Chicago wants to charge the full 3% tax allowed under the state’s Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

That’s because Chicago, like many municipalities and states, is experiencing a budget deficit. Recreational cannabis taxes are being eyed to help narrow the gap between revenue and spending.

Marijuana Business Daily projects that Illinois could generate up to $2.5 billion in recreational cannabis sales annually when the market is mature.

The sales will depend in part on tourism spending in the Chicago area.

The mayor banned retail marijuana shops in much of downtown Chicago but then made an exception for part of the popular River North nightclub area.

For more details about the proposed 3% tax, click here.