The Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois has voted to tax the sale of marijuana to fund reparations for Black residents. The council voted 8 to 1 on Nov. 25 to implement a 3% tax on marijuana that will be put toward the reparations plan. A cap of $10 million over the next 10 years was also placed during the vote.
The tax is expected to generate $500,000 and $750,000 in revenue each year, and they can also receive outside donations. Robin Rue Simmons, a black alderman who represents the city’s historically Black Fifth Ward, believes it will benefit residents affected by the war on drugs.
She told The Washington Post, "Our community was damaged due to the war on drugs and marijuana convictions. This is a chance to correct that. Our disadvantage and discrimination has continued beyond outlawing Jim Crow and beyond enslavement."
Many residents of Evanston have been pushed out by high property taxes and other disadvantages, the new reparations plans will allow Black residents to still live in the neighborhood, which is one of the largest black communities in the wealthy North Shore suburb. Simmons added that the reparations fund can help families put a down payment on a home that they couldn't otherwise afford, while others already living in the community could have repairs paid for their home out of the fund.
A town hall meeting will take place on Dec. 11 to work out the details, with Simmons stating that she believes the fund should be available to all Black Evanstonians, as some believe that it should exclude the children of Black immigrants who were never enslaved. She explained, "This is in response to the continued impact of Jim Crow. From the war on drugs, to mass incarceration, to the academic gap, the wealth divide, the opportunity gap, the achievement gap, it is all based on race."
Source: The Washington Post