* WICS TV…
Illinois marijuana sales brought in over a billion dollars last year.
The sales tax from cannabis can help cities like Springfield, but because of a state law, the capital city can’t currently use any of the sales tax revenue.
“It’s a conundrum for us because here we are getting this money, we want to spend it and allocate it, but we can’t because our hands are tied due to state law,” City of Springfield Budget Director Bill McCarty said.
The reason being that Springfield only has two dispensaries selling recreational products — both owned by the same company, Ascend Wellness.
If McCarty were to disclose the revenue the city’s received from the tax, he would in effect be disclosing their sales, which is a violation of state law.
The only people with access to the confidential information are McCarty, Mayor Jim Langfelder, deputy mayor Bonnie Drew and city attorney Jim Zerkle.
Per guidance received from the Illinois Department of Revenue, McCarty said the city would need at least five recreational dispensaries before it could disclose cannabis revenue as the law is currently constructed.
“Therefore, we’re simply sitting on the money,” McCarty said. “I know how much has come in, but it’s all mixed in with our regular sales tax. So it’s not reported individually out there anywhere, and I’m not reporting it. We’re also not putting it in the budget, and we’re also not spending it.”
* So, I checked with the governor’s office…
The administration remains committed to ensuring the new adult-use cannabis industry benefits communities across the state which is why the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act does not prevent municipalities from spending revenue received from taxes imposed on the sale of cannabis. Though Springfield is currently home to only one dispensary, they are legally allowed to spend tax dollars received from the dispensary if they do not identify the source of the funding in their budget.
Springfield is one of 44 municipalities with only one dispensary. The IL Dept. of Revenue includes cannabis dollars in lump sum payments to municipalities, which include general sales tax and the motor fuel tax, which publicly protects the source of any cannabis tax dollars.