Illinois City Using Cannabis Taxes to Fund Reparations

Evanston, Illinois is ready to start sending $25,000 reparation payments to help Black residents afford housing in the north Chicago neighborhood. The payments will be funded by a 3% tax on adult-use cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

The city of Evanston, Illinois is following through on its plan to offer reparations to Black residents, funded by a tax on adult-use cannabis, according to ABC News.

Evanston passed its cannabis-based reparations law in late 2019, levying a three percent tax on adult-use cannabis to pay for it. Now, $10 million raised by the tax will go to helping keep Black residents living in the north Chicago neighborhood. Payments will come in $25,000 chunks for eligible Evanston residents.

When 5th Ward Alderman Robin Rue Simmons championed the law in 2019, she told The Washington Post, “Our community was damaged due to the war on drugs and marijuana convictions. This is a chance to correct that.”

Just over a year later, the program now aims to help undo the effects of racist redlining in the city.

“The historic redlining impacts our community today. That map still is the map of our concentrated Black community, our disinvestment, our inferior infrastructure.” — Alderman Rue Simmons, via ABC News

Alderman Rue Simmons hopes the new program will create living-wage jobs and provide more of a sense of place for the 16 percent of Evanston residents who are Black.

Actor and longtime reparations activist Danny Glover spoke in Evanston after the law’s signing and said, “This is the most intense conversation I believe that we’re going to have in the 21st century, right here — reparations.”

“This is a remarkable step,” Glover said. “It is you, the citizens of this extraordinary moment, who will go down in history, and whose voices will be remembered, as they stood up in the face of condemnation, made the choice to stand up for not only their own humanity, but the humanity of all people.”

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