For those looking to buy some legal weed in Chicago, be prepared for some sticker shock.
That’s because pot products there are larded with taxes. On Wednesday, the Cook County Board approved another one: a three percent tax on marijuana retailers, which will be tacked on to a bevy of other taxes already levied on the state’s nascent legal cannabis industry.
As the Chicago Sun-Times reported, the latest three percent tax “would be in addition to the city’s 3% planned tax and state excise taxes of 10-25%, based on the level of THC, the ingredient in pot that gets users high, in the product purchased.”
Pot products are also subject to a standard sales tax, which in Chicago comes out to a bit more than 10 percent. Taken together, that’s a potential 41 percent tax on marijuana products by this summer.
Larry Suffredin, a Democratic commissioner on the county board, argued in favor of the additional tax to compensate for “increases in emergency room and medical treatments because of interactions between the marijuana products and other drugs,” according to the Sun-Times. Suffredin also said that there had been an uptick in “the number of DUIs and the requirement of police authorities, like our sheriff’s office, to come up with unique methodologies to be able to register how impaired individuals are who are driving under the effects of marijuana.”
Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana when its new law took effect on New Year’s Day. The law will also include pardons for individuals previously convicted of low-level, non-violent marijuana offenses.
Marijuana Off to a Booming Start
Marijuana sales have gotten off to a roaring start in Illinois. Customers, both Illinois residents and individuals from neighboring states, formed long lines outside the marijuana shops on the first day of the new year to revel and take advantage of the new law. That day brought a total of 77,128 transactions, averaging $41.18 each, for a total sales tally of $3,176,256. By January 2, sales had swelled to $5.5 million, with some dispensaries even running out of marijuana products.
After passing the Illinois state legislature, the measure was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in June.
“Today Illinois is demonstrating everything that can be accomplished when we set aside our comfort with the status quo and instead govern with the belief that our best days are ahead,” Pritzker said at a press conference after the signing. “With this legislation our state is once again a leader.”