A new legislative report has found that Wisconsin residents in 2022 spent well over $100 million on marijuana products purchased legally in Illinois, despite marijuana remaining illegal in Wisconsin.
In total Wisconsin residents spent $121 million on marijuana and marijuana products in Illinois last year, which resulted in $36 million in taxes for Illinois. The report was prompted by Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard and was conducted by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
To come up with this figure the Bureau examined data from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which breakdowns marijuana sales throughout the state differentiating purchases made by residents and those from outside the state. The report notes that “this estimate could be lower or higher than the actual amount of taxes paid by Wisconsin residents purchasing cannabis in Illinois based on several variables.”
“It should upset every Wisconsinite that our hard earned tax dollars are going across the border to Illinois”, said Senator Agard in a press release. “This is revenue that could be going toward Wisconsin’s public schools, transportation infrastructure, and public safety. Instead, Illinois is reaping the benefits of Republican obstructionism and their prohibitionist stance on marijuana legalization.”
Agard continues: “Republicans’ continued refusal to legalize marijuana is fiscally irresponsible. Wisconsinites paid more than $31 million – just in taxes – to Illinois in 2022. Wisconsin’s loss of potential revenue is even larger if we include taxes paid to Michigan, as well as Minnesota in the near future. Wisconsin is losing out on significant tax dollars that could be used to make our communities stronger, safer, and healthier.”
Agard says that the state is “an island of prohibition and the people of our state are hurting because of it”, noting that she fully supports Governor Evers’ 2024-25 biennial budget proposal to fully legalize marijuana for responsible adult use. She says “if Republicans choose to remove it from the budget, I will once again introduce my bill to achieve this goal. It’s high time we get this done for the betterment of our state and the people living here.”