ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — So far, since recreational marijuana has been made legal in Illinois, sellers have brought in nearly $20 million in sales.

That means big tax money for the state.

Some areas of Rockford will be able to apply to receive money generated by the sale of legalized marijuana.

Twenty-five percent of the tax revenue from cannabis sales across the state will fund Illinois’ Restore, Reinvest and Renew grants.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to be able to apply for and potentially receive funding to help us provide more services to our citizens, especially those on the West side,” said Alderman John Beck (R-12th Ward).

The R3 grants are designed to help communities in the state hurt by the war on drugs, which includes a majority of Rockford.

The grants will be awarded to community organizations that support economic growth, provide violence prevention services, or offer youth development programs.

One of those groups is the Rockford Park District.

“Any time we can find new revenue streams and new resources that will go into our programs for kids, we’re going for it,” said Executive Director Jay Sandine.

Sandine says he hopes the money will help them add to their summer playground program, in which park district employees provide activities for kids at their local playground, every day over the summer months.

There used to be over 30 parks involved in the program, but that number has shrunk over time.

“We are now down to 10 sites. We’ve had to reduce and eliminate over 20 sites. That’s a lot of kids, right now, who are roaming streets, who are roaming parks that used to have supervised programs in there. And this type of money will help us restore those youth programs,” Sandine said.

The grants will be awarded by the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority.


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