Cook County Board Approves 3% Tax On Recreational Marijuana; Highest Rate In Chicago To Exceed 40% In Chicago By Summer

Chicago News

CHICAGO (CBS) — The taxes on some recreational marijuana products would be more than 40% in Chicago starting this summer, after the Cook County Board of Commissioners approved a 3% county tax on cannabis retailers on Thursday.

The new tax will go into effect on July 1, when the state’s recreational marijuana law allows local governments to begin collecting taxes on legal pot sales.

The 3% tax rate approved at Thursday’s county board meeting is the highest local and county governments may impose on recreational pot sales under state law.

“The potential financial impact to Cook County from the legalization of cannabis could be significant. We are operating healthcare, criminal justice, law enforcement, social service, regulatory and court systems and we believe this rate will help generate money to defray potential costs,” Nick Shields, a spokesman for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, stated in an email.

The tax would be charged “upon all persons engaged in the business of selling cannabis at retail in the county on the gross receipts from these sales made in the course of that business.”

Medical marijuana would be exempted from the county’s tax. Medical marijuana patients would still be subject only to a 1% state tax.

The Chicago City Council also approved a 3% city tax on recreational marijuana sales as part of the city’s 2020 budget. Like the county’s tax, the city will begin collecting its marijuana tax in July.

The state taxes recreational marijuana at a rate of 10% to 25%, depending on the type and potency of the product:

  • a 10% tax rate for pot with a THC level at or below 35%;
  • a 20% tax rate for all cannabis-infused products;
  • and a 25% tax rate for pot with a THC level above 35%.

Sales taxes also apply to all marijuana purchases. In Chicago, the combined sales tax rate is 10.25%. With the city’s 3% marijuana tax and the county’s 3% marijuana tax kicking in starting in July, some products could be taxed as much as 41.25% in Chicago.

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