Will County received about $600,000 in revenue from recreational marijuana sales over the first six months the tax was in effect.
Karen Hennessy, the county’s finance director, gave the Will County Board Finance Committee the numbers during a virtual meeting on Tuesday.
“What I’ve been reading in the paper is that cannabis sales are going through the roof,” Hennessy said.
She added that at this rate, the county could see about $1.2 million from its first full year of a recreational marijuana tax revenue, far more than what officials were expecting when the County Board passed the tax in 2019.
The board imposed a tax on sales in both incorporated and unincorporated areas, although dispensaries in Joliet and Romeoville were among the few granted licenses and the green light from elected officials to sell recreational cannabis last year.
The revenue to the county is being held in a special fund. Board members have yet to decide how to spend it.
On Thursday, members of the Will County Board Executive Committee compiled ideas on how to spend the money, said Speaker Mimi Cowan, D-Naperville.
Cowan said the board does not intend to incorporate the marijuana sales tax revenue into the county’s general fund but will use it to reinvest into local communities. Some of the ideas included using funds to cover the cost of expunging the records of low-level marijuana-related charges, funding addiction and mental health services, and supporting youth programs.
“Broadly speaking, I think the vast majority of members support using that money to reinvest in communities in a positive and supportive way,” Cowan said.
She said their plan is to have staff compile “workable” plans stemming from members’ ideas to bring to the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for those members to vote on. Cowan said that committee might take a couple months to finalize a decision, which the entire board would need to approve.
The full County Board will meet virtually April 15.
Source: The Daily Chronicle