A Springfield, Illinois community center is using cannabis-derived tax funds for educational and job training programs for 30 formerly incarcerated people.
“We work on essentially reintegrating them into society, helping them to find the resources they need in the community they will be residing in,” said East Springfield Community Center Commission CEO Dameon Johnson.
The center will also focus on youth violence prevention, an employment program, and mentoring. Johnson added that he hopes to eventually partner with Lincoln Land Community College to provide more education options.
Through the first quarter of the year, cannabis tax revenues in Illinois surpassed $86 million—out-earning alcohol tax revenues by about $14 million. The East Springfield Community Center Commission directly received more than $800,000 from the over $1.5 million directed to city non-profits.
Additionally, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) on Thursday signed a bill to create new cannabis industry licenses for social equity applicants which will add another 110 dispensaries throughout the state.
To also ensure that these new Black and Brown-owned businesses are able to find spaces in high value areas, the law allows social equity applicants’ businesses to be within 1,500 feet of an existing dispensary.
“There is a demand for these businesses, but they have to be given the opportunity to be located in high traffic locations,” said Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood). “I cannot wait to see Black majority owners be successful in Illinois.”