Illinois urged to apply adult-use marijuana tax revenue to social equity

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Illinois should use tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales to help social equity applicants who continue to accrue expenses because of extended coronavirus-fueled licensing delays, an industry group says.

The Cannabis Business Association of Illinois suggested the move in a letter to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“We all recognize that the industry cannot reach its full potential without awarding these social equity licenses, and many of these applicants cannot afford an extended delay,” the industry association wrote in its letter.

“Their expenses continue to mount every day these licenses are delayed.”

The state is falling months behind in awarding the next round of licenses in an adult-use market that launched Jan. 1.

Currently, the Illinois rec market is controlled by medical marijuana operators who were given a head start.

For its part, the association said it is:

  • Offering free memberships to qualified social equity applicants for the remainder of the year.
  • Creating a social equity advisory committee to support the applicants in other ways.

Illinois has developed a social equity program that some believe could become an industry blueprint, but it is unclear if the rules will go far enough to result in robust minority participation.

Meanwhile, rec sales in Illinois are off to a fast start, exceeding $300 million year-to-date, including a record $61 million in July.

For a sampling of organizations and efforts that support, foster and enhance social equity in the cannabis industry as well as opportunities for minorities, overall diversity and racial justice, click here.