Illinois To Use $45M From Adult-Use Sales To Help Communities

A portion of adult-use cannabis sales revenue in Illinois will go to helping communities recover from the drug war’s impact.

Last week, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) announced that it would use $45 million in grant funding to support impacted communities.

ICJIA says funds will go to 148 programs operating in communities affected most.

The grants stem from the R3 Program, a key equity component of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act that Governor J.B. Pritzker signed in 2019.

Under the law, 25 percent of cannabis tax revenue goes to communities affected by cannabis criminalization.

According to ICJIA, low-income Illinoisans and communities of color felt the impact most.

ICJIA says that organizations serving residents of some eligible R3 Zones received grants.

Governor Pritzker says that a modern and equitable cannabis requires opportunity, equity, and a robust investment in righting the drug war’s wrongs.

“That means investing in our underserved communities who’ve gone far too long without the funding and resources they need and deserve to heal and prosper,” says Governor Pritzker. “We’re proud to use cannabis revenue to directly support community-based organizations invested in creating opportunity.”

ICJIA says fund distribution will begin in 2023 and include approximately $40.5 million for delivery services.

Another $4.5 million will go to community planning and capacity building for future R3 funding,

ICJIA says it received 512 completed applications, which community residents and other stakeholders reviewed after receiving implicit bias and application review training.

According to ICJIA, the applications included questions to build equity in grant distribution in response to feedback received after the last round of R3 grants.

ICJIA says it prioritized grassroots organizations with budgets under $2 million to ease funding access.

ICJIA says the process helped smaller companies compete with amply-resourced larger ones to apply for access funding.

ICJA Executive Director Delrice Adams says R3 is about equity, investing in communities, and ensuring that service organizations of all sizes are outfitted and prepared to launch innovative programs to address diverse community needs and make a safer state.

“These organizations share the common goals of diminishing violence and providing economic advancements to as many individuals withing Illinois as possible,” says Adams. “Their efforts will provide opportunity through constructive programming and innovative activities.”

ICJIA says it will offer several web-based training seminars on the application process to increase the capacity of smaller organizations.

Seminars will also cover budget creation and how to use the grant application system.

Additionally, ICJIA says it will provide immediate administrative support to new grant recipients to help them manage the funds and achieve their community program goals.

“Illinois is showing what it looks like to work toward repairing the harm impacting our communities, by continuing to build the infrastructure that addresses decades of disinvestment, over incarceration, and trauma,” says Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “As a tool connecting communities to the resources they need equitably and sustainably, R3 is at the core of our efforts to bring restorative, healing solutions to the people and regions that have for too long been unheard and underserved.”

ICJIA says it determined funding eligibility through community-level data on child poverty, unemployment, gun injury, and state prison commitments and returns.

ICJIA also considered areas that the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity identified as disproportionately impacted by historical economic disinvestment.