Crain's Chicago Business: Where all the tax money from recreational marijuana will go

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is staring down a $133.5 billion pension hole, is counting on help from legalizing recreational marijuana. But less than half the new tax revenue generated from weed sales will go toward shoring up the state's finances.


Under the long-awaited legalization  bill unveiled May 7, just 35 percent of cannabis taxes will go to the state's general fund, and 10 percent will go to a separate budget stabilization fund. Another 25 percent will go to a grant program that aims to help communities hit hard by poverty, violence and the war on drugs; and 20 percent will go to mental health and substance-abuse treatment. The other 10 percent goes to law enforcement and drug-treatment education.

Even if legal pot eventually generates the $440 million to $676 million in annual taxes  predicted by legislators sponsoring the bill, far less would be available to shrink chronic multibillion-dollar state budget deficits or fill the yawning pension gap.

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