Counting cannabis coins: Kane County reveals tax info

Kane County officials this week revealed, for the first time, how much the county collects from local dispensaries since instituting a marijuana sales tax in 2019.

The county imposes a 3.75% tax on adult-use cannabis sales, the highest allowed by state law. Since April, when the fifth dispensary opened - Consume Cannabis in St. Charles - tax collections averaged about $120,000 every month through the end of the year. The county also gets a cut of the state tax on cannabis operations, amounting to about $7,000 per month.

If those totals endure for an entire year, the county would receive $1.5 million annually in cannabis tax revenue. In comparison, state cannabis tax collections on retail sales totaled $1.3 billion through October.

State law initially blocked the county from disclosing tax data because there were fewer than five dispensaries operating there, which could make it easy to tie specific tax collections to a single business. That could make a dispensary showing particularly high volumes of business an attractive crime target.

In addition to Consume Cannabis in St. Charles, Kane County's other dispensaries include Zen Leaf in St. Charles, Verilife in North Aurora, and nuEra and Zen Leaf in Aurora, according to

Kane County Board members have long debated a variety of taxes and new revenue sources to address ongoing issues with costs outpacing the county's income for several years. The board approved a 2024 budget earlier this month that will spend down savings to balance the budget.

One of the ongoing sources of increased costs is paying county employees. Numbers released Wednesday by county finance department officials show a 48% increase in salary costs from 2014 through the end of the 2023 fiscal year: The total grew from $59.4 million in 2014 to a projected $87.8 million at the end of November 2023.

Four of the county's 29 departments or offices saw salary costs rise by 100% or more (finance, county clerk, veterans commission and environmental management). The sheriff's office, which has the largest number of county employees, shows the biggest salary cost increase over those 10 years, adding $8.8 million in new expenses in 2023 compared to 2014.

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