When you consider that the unregulated cannabis industry in Illinois is estimated to be worth $1 billion per year, this news is even more significant (chronic that largely comes from California, which is currently suffering its own legal cannabis crisis.)
What will the government do with all of this money? Illinois has strict laws tying recreational marijuana funds to projects aimed at repairing the damage caused by the War on Drugs. The Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) program, which receives 25% of cannabis earnings after the state pays off administrative and other costs involved with the legal business, is the most prominent of these.
In the summer of 2020, R3 received $31.5 million to support civil legal aid, economic development, re-entry, violence prevention, and youth development projects in underserved communities. The programs that were funded during this round will be extended for another year. The programs that received funds during this round will be renewed for a second year “in order to have continuity of services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” reports a local news site.
“We’re prioritizing investments in communities that were previously harmed for what is now legal,” Pritzker, said. “The positive impact of these dollars looks different in every community because after decades of trauma, restoring justice requires a multi-pronged effort in every community.”
It’s encouraging that the state is considering retroactive Drug War justice as part of the R3, especially in light of the outcry over the lily-white makeup of cannabis company license recipients selected in a 2020 lottery. Because of the outrage over what was believed to be unjust treatment of POCs, a second lottery for licenses was held this summer.