RB 5-19 The Costs and Benefits of Recreational Cannabis Legalization in Illinois: County Level Analysis

Illinois legalized recreational marijuana in January 2020.  This paper examines the ‘value’ of cannabis to Illinois counties. The construct ‘value’ was defined as Benefits/Costs . The numerator of the ‘value’ equation, benefits, was measured using county tax revenues. Costs, the denominator of the equation, was measured as healthcare costs for combatting cannabis use disorder among the population. Results of data analysis suggest that recreational cannabis legalization doesn’t provide ‘value’ for 35% of the metro counties and one-in-three of the nonmetro counties.