With Illinois facing a nearly $4 billion budget deficit next year, lawmakers and cannabis industry insiders have claimed the state is missing out on more than $100 million in tax revenue by blocking certain pot shops from relocating.
While the state’s economy has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic, cannabis sales have remained a bright spot throughout the crisis. Sales of recreational weed topped $500 million over the first 10 months of full-on legalization, and total monthly sales surpassed $100 million for the first time in October.
Nevertheless, some players in the state’s pot game say the industry has been hampered by Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s interpretation of the legalization law. Under his administration’s reading, existing medical dispensaries aren’t allowed to move without losing their chance to also sell recreational weed — even if they’re operating in a city or town that has barred those sales or they’ve outgrown their current locations.
Pam Althoff, a former state senator who leads the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois, said lawmakers and state officials should prioritize resolving the issue, which has remained a contentious topic for more than a year. [Read more at Chicago Sun-Times]