Commonwealth Policy Center

The state of Illinois has found a lucrative new tax source: recreational pot. Since January 1, Illinois has collected $52 million in taxes from the newly legalized drug. The state will receive $34.7 million in excise taxes and sales taxes will account for $18. This new revenue makes legalizing recreational pot attractive to other states but the jury’s still out on whether recreational pot is good public policy. In a time when tobacco is discouraged, why is smoking pot any better? At a time when we’re more conscious of personal health and public consequence, why the push for pot—especially when we know the serious downsides of using it? The new revenue is certainly attractive to Illinois’ government, but if health and public safety are jeopardized by pot, the income may not be enough to cover the downside.