On May 31st, 2019, the Illinois general assembly passed the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act which legalized the use of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. Built into legalization is a program called the Restore, Reinvest and Renew Program, or R3.
On the first day of legal cannabis, 77,000 transactions were recorded, to the tune of $3.2 million. That number has obviously increased in the past five months, and Illinois is finally putting its tax-revenue money where its mouth is. Under the legalization bill that Governor J.B Pritzker signed last January a program was established meant to fix some past injustices.
Investing In Communities Who Have Been Left Behind:
This program: The Restore, Reinvest & Renew Program established grant opportunities for “communities impacted by economic disinvestment, violence, and the severe and multilayered harm caused by the war on drugs.”
The top five principles of this program are:
- Implement a public health approach that addresses the root causes that rebuild communities.
- Apply best practices & capacity building for groups with community relationships that drive success.
- Target highest-need communities for maximum impact.
- Coordinate all relevant services and capacity building while building long term sustainability.
- Empower directly impacted voices through community input.
- Invest in performance measurement & accountability for continual growth and improvement.
The state cannabis law dictates that 25% of all tax revenue that comes from the sale of legal cannabis must go to the R3 program, which had led to the allocation of $31.5 million in grant funds. These funds will go towards community assessment and strategic planning initiatives as well as service delivery. These funds will be awarded to nonprofits and small businesses in areas that state regulators have deemed economically distressed.
Bringing Hope To Communities Through Tax Revenue
Here are the top five priorities that this program will work to address:
- Civil legal aid
- Economic development
- Reentry from the criminal justice system
- Violence prevention
- Youth development
The sale of heavily regulated legal marijuana has brought millions of dollars of revenue to the state of Illinois, and while an economic boom is great for the state, the priority seems to be on helping people, and restorative justice.
Previous to this grant announcement, Governor Pritzker cleared the records of 11,000 individuals convicted of simple (non-violent) cannabis possession.