Regulating the adult use and sale of marijuana to adults would yield an estimated $525 million dollars in new annual revenue, according to an economic analysis published by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute.
Authors estimate that regulating marijuana would reallocate $18.4 million annually in law enforcement costs, while creating over 23,000 new jobs, and raising significant tax revenue.
“Legalizing, regulating, and taxing recreational marijuana would reduce costs to taxpayers, spur economic activity, create jobs, and shrink the black market,” authors conclude. “While new tax revenues would be modest and would not solve Illinois’ fiscal issues, they would improve the state’s budget situation and credit rating outlook, fund investments in critical infrastructure and public education, and reduce criminal justice costs.”
They add: “The benefits of legalization outweigh the social costs. While some legislators and constituents are concerned that legalizing recreational marijuana would increase consumption of other illicit drugs, increase motor vehicle crashes, and reduce workplace productivity, there is no evidence to support these claims.”
Speaking with reporters last week, Governor-elect JB Pritzker pledged to move forward with adult use marijuana legalization “nearly right away,” and also promised to consider taking action to vacate the arrest records of those previously convicted of certain marijuana-related offenses. During his campaign, Pritzker said, “In the name of criminal justice reform, consumer safety, and increased state revenue, Illinois needs a governor who is ready to legalize marijuana.” He replaces Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.