Cannabis Tax Provides $45 Million To Communities 'Impacted By Failed War on Drugs'

Cannabis Tax Provides $45 Million To Communities ‘Impacted By Failed War on Drugs’

Kane County community organizations that serve neighborhoods most impacted by economic disinvestment, violence, and the war on drugs can now apply for a share of $45 million in Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) funding, state officials announced today (Wednesday, Dec 15, 2021).

Managed by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, this latest round of grants is making $40.5 million available for organizations that provide services within the five priority funding areas: civil legal aid, economic development, re-entry from the criminal justice system, violence prevention, and youth development.

Additionally, $4.5 million is available for capacity-building grants to help small organizations expand.

Organizations interested in applying for funding can review the Notice of Funding Opportunity at R3.Illinois.gov.

Gov. JB Pritzker said this is the second round or R3 grants.

“I know our recipients will keep transforming lives with their work, and in turn transform our cities and state,” he siad. “Because when we reinvest in the potential of our people, we invite the economic activity that creates resiliency, When we renew hope in communities historically left out, we inspire the next generation to pursue a brighter future. And in public service, that is our obligation.”

Created by the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act signed into law in 2019, the R3 program is funded using 25% of adult-use cannabis tax revenue.

R3 is a key component of the state’s commitment to equity and repairing the severe harms caused by the failed war on drugs, which disproportionately hurt communities of color.

“R3 epitomizes one of the key tenets of restorative justice, that the wisdom is in the room,” Lt. Gov Juliana Stratton said. “Solutions to the challenges that our neighborhoods face can be found in those very communities, and R3 seeks to invest in organizations that have the closest ties to the communities they serve.”

Areas eligible for funding were identified using community-level data on gun injury, child poverty, unemployment, and state prison commitments and returns, combined with disproportionately impacted areas identified by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Of the available funds, 75% will be dedicated to organizations that have been in operation for less than five years or have a budget of less than $2 million. To improve small organizations’ access to state funds, ICJIA offers an online, self-guided technical assistance course.

ICJIA will also offer several online webinars to provide guidance about specific components of the application for R3 funds. For more information about technical assistance opportunities, visit R3.illinois.gov.

The R3 Board, chaired by Stratton, governs the R3 program and consists of people directly impacted by incarceration, community members, state agency leadership, members of the General Assembly, and service providers and experts in the five priority funding areas. A working group of R3 Board members advised ICJIA about how to ground the second-round application process in restorative justice principles and make it accessible to grassroots organizations.

state Sen, Cristina Castro

“As one of the first states to legalize cannabis for recreational use through the legislative process, it was imperative that we put equity at the forefront of the law,” said state Sen, Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “The R3 grant programs are an important way that we are addressing the harmful effects of the war on drugs, inequities in incarceration and gun violence.”

This grant opportunity builds upon previous R3 funding that distributed $35 million to 80 grantees and their partner organizations. All executed first-round grants will be renewed for an additional year to ensure continuity of services as the state continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the organizations funded in the first round, the Chicago Youth Boxing Club, received $40,000 to provide youth development programming in Chicago’s South Lawndale community.

ICJIA is dedicated to improving the administration of criminal justice through work in the areas of grants administration, research and analysis, policy and planning, and information systems and technology. For more information, go to www.icjia.state.il.us.

SOURCE: state of Illinois news release