Why prohibition is a boon to legal Illinois

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It’s been a little more than a year since Illinois legalized adult-use cannabis, and the state is already celebrating the tax revenue boost — 26% of which came from out-of-state shoppers last year, according to Leafly.



The logic

There are five non-adult use legal states bordering Illinois: Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana. One-fifth of adult-use cannabis transactions in 2020 were made by people visiting from out-of-state, and since travel has been so limited through the pandemic, it’s likely many of these purchases came from buyers in bordering states.

Obviously, it pays to be first. Illinois collected $217 million in both cannabis and state sales taxes on a total of $669 million in adult-use sales. “That means out-of-state visitors deposited $56 million in the Illinois state treasury in 2020,” writes Leafly.

Who’s next

Now that so many states have legalized adult-use cannabis, we’ll likely see more dominoes fall in the hopes of capturing tax revenue and providing jobs — another issue Leafly has been highlighting with initiatives like its recent Jobs Report.

With newly legal New Jersey and New York bordering still-illegal Pennsylvania, for example, the weed shopping and news site’s CEO Yoko Miyashita plans to join reps from NORML and Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman on 4/20 in Harrisburg to call for legalization in the state.

While states may have been reluctant to legalize first, nobody wants to be last. There’s just too much tax money at stake.

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