ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Despite the hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the coronavirus struck during the first year of recreational marijuana sales in Illinois.
For months, local tax dollars have been generating from weed sales. Starting in January 2021, that money could help those struggling the most in the Forest City.
“I’m looking at this and that’s what I’m seeing–a future,” said 8th Ward Alderman Karen Hoffman
Rockford City Council members discuss created a cannabis fund using the 3% local tax on marijuana.
“A lot of the things that have been discussed is that we need to invest in a hard hit distressed area, so I’m putting forward a resolution that states that these dollars are dedicated to distressed areas to invest in their social and economic empowerment in these distressed areas,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. “The areas that have been either forgotten about or hardest hit due to the war on drugs.”
Supporters say the fund could be used to invest in at-risk youth programs that need assistance to get off the ground.
“We can help fund them. Let’s say there’s a small business owner who may have had a challenging background who wanted to start a great business we can help fund it. Let’s say there’s a grocery store that’s looking to go into an area that’s a food dessert, but may need a little additional incentive to come into this area we can help secure it utilizing these funds,” Mayor McNamara added.
All funds will be distributed based on City Council approval.
“What’s the biggest issue in Rockford? Violence. You ask anybody, Violence. Crime. Then you ask how do we bring down crime? How do we bring do violence? You reinvest in people,” said Ald. Hoffman.
“I think going into individual programs into the community is where it would have the biggest impact. That’s what we’re hearing over and over and over again, in our meetings. These are the issues that need to be addressed,” she added.
The full City Council will vote to approve the fund at their next meeting.
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