Less than eight months after legalizing recreational cannabis in Illinois, the state is offering more than $31 million in grant money from a portion of the taxes generated from sales.
Adult-use cannabis became legal Jan. 1. According to Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, sales exceeded $40 million the first month and more than $110 million just in March.
Through a grant program, small businesses and non-profits in disadvantaged communities can now benefit from those sales.
“We’re reinvesting these dollars through our Restore, Reinvest and Renew Program — or what we call R3,” said Illinois Lieutenant Gov. Julianna Stratton.
Stratton is overseeing the R3 program along with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Agency.
She said when adult-use cannabis was legalized Jan. 1, legislation was passed setting aside 25 percent of the net tax revenues “to be reinvested into communities that had been most harmed by the war on drugs. This was disproportionately Black and brown communities. The goal was really to say that equity had to lead our efforts in the legalization of cannabis.”
“This is one of the ways we are attempting to right the wrongs of failed policy.”
The R3 grants focus on funding for civil legal aid, economic development, reentry into society by former inmates, violence prevention, and youth development. The deadline to apply is July 20. To review eligibility guidelines or apply for a grant, go to r3.illinois.gov.
Stratton said a 32-member board decides how grants are awarded.
“Cannabis sales in June hit $47 million,” she said. “This will go toward communities that have suffered for decades from disinvestment.
“Gov. Pritzker and our entire administration worked hard in conjunction with members of the General Assembly, the Black Caucus and community organizations. It’s great to see this revenue come in and hopefully see those disadvantaged communities do some rebuilding.”
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