Watch now: Recreational pot made $175 million in Illinois tax revenue. But some aren't happy with the rollout. – Herald & Review

Gov. J.B. Pritzker in July 2019 attends a ceremony to sign legislation legalizing recreational cannabis. An analysis shows more than $175 million in tax revenue has been generated. 


SPRINGFIELD — When Illinois’ existing cannabis dispensaries opened their doors to recreational customers for the first time on Jan. 1, 2020, they were met with long lines and high hopes.

It was the first wave of the deliberately slow rollout of legalized adult-use cannabis sales and consumption in Illinois, which was the first state to approve legalization through the legislative process after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the more than 600-page framework into law in June 2019.

The legislation was ambitious and, in many ways, groundbreaking.

Though some motives, such as the desire to generate millions of dollars in tax revenue into the state’s coffers, were obvious, the state went further than any other jurisdiction by addressing past harms.

A path was created to expunge low-level cannabis convictions and a significant portion of the tax revenue generated has been earmarked for communities that have disproportionately been impacted by the War on Drugs.

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