Illinois’ cannabis reform law requires monthly deposits into the state’s rainy-day fund to be used for the state’s backlog of bills.
As of March 1, 2021, the Illinois Office of Comptroller has utilized $14 million from the deposits for payments to critical access pharmacies in rural and underserved areas of the state, as well as for bills related to social justice.
The pharmacy payments are part of the state’s Critical Access Pharmacy program, which makes supplemental payments to help small, independently owned pharmacies that have experienced serious financial difficulty because of rates offered under the state’s managed care program and also because of rate cuts by pharmacy benefit managers. Since the program began in 2019, the Comptroller’s office has released more than $13.5 million in payments to local pharmacies throughout Illinois.
Meanwhile, revenue from adult-use cannabis sales have enabled the state to invest in social justice programs. In January, for example, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority announced $31.5 million in grants to help communities hardest hit by the failed war on drugs. The grants — part of the state’s Restore, Reinvest, and Renew Program — went to organizations that focus on violence prevention, legal aid, and re-entry services.
In October, the governor’s office announced that following the legalization of adult-use cannabis on Jan. 1, 2020, the Illinois Department of Revenue collected more than $100 million in tax revenue from cannabis sales. ◼︎