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By INIGO ZENICAZELAYA

With tons of free time on my hands these days, (thanks Coronavirus pandemic!), it’s given me the opportunity to research a number of things, one being the uses of marijuana taxation, in the various US states that have legalised marijuana.

Illinois stood right out again, they have long been a model state in regards to the legalisation of marijuana and its related legislation.

Here’s what stood out to me.

Rural pharmacies in Illinois are receiving financial support from cannabis taxes earmarked for the state’s “rainy day fund”, officials announced recently.

Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced last month that nearly $1m would be released to critical access pharmacies providing essential services to rural communities during the ongoing public health emergency.

The cannabis tax paid into the states “rainy day’’ fund in March came to a total of $1.1m.

Total payments thus far of $946m, into the states’ “rainy day” fund, came from numerous other state taxes, and other cannabis related taxes, paid each month into the state’s “rainy day” fund.

The “rainy day fund” is a cash reserve, maintained to cover expenses during difficult financial times.

Mendoza also added, in a March 19, 2020, press conference: “Our ongoing effort to support rural pharmacies that are being squeezed out by unfair competition and managed care policies, now takes on added importance as communities fight the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.”

The same payments, announced by Mendoza last month, were made to rural pharmacies ahead of schedule to provide relief during the economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mendoza offered these final comments:

“Locally owned pharmacies – often the only pharmacies available for miles in any direction – are vital to stopping the spread of the coronavirus in rural communities.

“It’s more important than ever that we ensure these payments continue to go out so these small businesses can continue to be there for the people they serve.”

Garth Reynolds, the executive director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association, said that rural drugstores affected by the current economic conditions had sought relief from the comptroller’s office.

“Comptroller Mendoza recognizes the unfair business practices that have pushed pharmacies to the financial brink and inability to properly serve their patients.”

So hypothetically if we did legalise and decriminalise, medicinal and recreational marijuana.

And we did collect the various related taxes, in a timely and efficient manner.

There would be enough money in the “kitty” to provide some sort of “stimulus” package, to displaced Bahamians during “rainy days” such as these.

Meditate on that for a minute, I don’t know about you all, but I could use that ‘lil t’ing’!

Until next week, stay inside! Again!

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