In what is likely a first in the nation, a Chicago suburb has instituted a reparations program.

On 1 January 2020, recreational marijuana will be available for legal distribution in Illinois. In the City of Evanston, the tax revenue generated by the sale of the narcotic won’t be going to drug or juvenile diversion programs—as it has in many other communities. Instead, 100 percent of the tax money will be diverted to fund dedicated to “local reparations.”

“No apologies. This is for black Evanston residents.”

Alderwoman Rue Simmons, who is black, was the driving force behind the city’s resolution. “I’m offering no apologies,” she said. “This is for black Evanston residents.”

The money raised for this fund will be spent on job training programs and other initiatives that benefit the black community in Evanston. Simmons has argued that the marijuana tax is the perfect vehicle for black reparations since the “war on drugs” has disproportionately increased incarceration rates among African-Americans according to her.

The resolution passed 8-1 and the fund will be capped at $10 million. According to Fox News, the city estimates that marijuana sales will likely generate somewhere between $500,000-$750,000 annually. In other words, this cap may never be reached. 100 percent of marijuana tax revenue could be diverted to this program in perpetuity.

The Evanston black population has dipped in recent years—down to just 17 percent in 2017.


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