By INIGO 'NAUGHTY' ZENICAZELAYA
AS we creep closer to a final decision on the legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana in the Bahamas, and on the heels of Pastor Dave Burrows reiterating the Christian Council’s stance on the matter…
We as a nation must look at this controversial topic with modern eyes.
Old rhetoric and theories regarding marijuana have been proven to be obsolete in some cases and downright wrong in others.
Last year I wrote on the state of Illinois’ model for the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana, and I highlighted some of the better ideas in their plan that could be beneficial to us as a nation establishing our legislation in regards to our national plan for marijuana.
A year later let’s look at how it all turned out.
Illinois’ cannabis industry saw massive sales during its first month in action — $32,247,840.83 be exact.
But now the state’s Department of Revenue has released its figures on taxes, and it’s official that Illinois is also experiencing a windfall; $7.3m in tax revenue from January cannabis sales alone.
Last week, Governor JB Pritzker’s office released figures equivalent of $4.67m a month in state cannabis revenues.
Pritzker’s cannabis advisor Toi Hutchinson hyped the revenue’s role in reversing injustices wrought by cannabis prohibition-related policing.
“Revenue raised in this first month will soon begin flowing back into those communities to begin repairing the damage done by the failed policies of the past and creating new opportunities for those who have been left behind for far too long,” Hutchinson said.
With tax rates for the sale of many marijuana-infused products set at 20 percent, Illinois has one of the highest cannabis tax rates in the country.
That money is earmarked for important destinations, though the way that the revenue will be spent varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction when it comes to local taxes.
In Peoria County, “weed taxation” goes towards accelerating the expungement of cannabis-related crimes. In the town of Springfield, local officials will send the money collected by local taxes to city fire and police pensions, as well as underwriting development that is planned for the city’s east side.
State marijuana taxes are funneled into the government’s cannabis regulation fund, and then sent out to a number of areas, including the general revenue fund, which gets 35 percent.
Other recipients include the Restore, Reinvest and Renew Programme - a restorative justice project that looks to tackle gun violence and poverty that will absorb a quarter of the state’s cannabis tax revenues.
The rest of state taxes will largely be used to fund programmes addressing substance abuse and mental health, crime prevention, cannabis education campaigns, and law enforcement training.
On January 1, the first day of recreational sales alone, customers left cannabis stores with $3.2m of product. Food for thought!