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A Chicago suburb wants to give reparations to black residents. Its funding source? A tax on marijuana.

In Evanston, Ill., city officials are hashing out a plan for racial equity — with emphasis on the hash.

As Illinois prepares to legalize recreational marijuana, the Chicago suburb has voted to tax the sale of cannabis — expected to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars each year — to fund race-based reparations for its black residents.

“Our community was damaged due to the war on drugs and marijuana convictions. This is a chance to correct that,” Robin Rue Simmons, a black alderman who represents the city’s historically black Fifth Ward, told The Washington Post. “Our disadvantage and discrimination has continued beyond outlawing Jim Crow and beyond enslavement.”

The plan stems from the idea that African Americans should disproportionately benefit from the sale of cannabis, Simmons said, because they have been disproportionately affected by the policing of marijuana — both nationally and locally. In the past three years, nearly three-quarters of those arrested on marijuana possession charges in Evanston were African American, according to city officials.

But the city’s reparations plan will benefit not only victims of the war on drugs. Rather, it focuses on all African American residents, who Simmons said have suffered from the city’s history of redlining and, more recently, from the recession and foreclosure crisis. [Read more at The Washington Post]

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