It appears Cook County voters are in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana use in Illinois.
Tuesday’s referendum question asked if Illinois should legalize “the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older.”
By Wednesday morning, with 98 percent of precincts reporting, results showed 68 percent of voters were in favor of the idea in the nation’s second most populous county.
The question on whether or not to legalize the drug for recreational use was non-binding, so the vote does not mean recreational marijuana use will automatically become legal in Chicago and Cook County’s more than 130 municipalities. In the end, it is up to legislators to propose and pass a law.
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The referendum’s results can, however, now be used to gauge public opinion and determine whether to bring legislation forward in Springfield.
County commissioners voted unanimously last December to put the question on the primary ballot. The state Senate earlier this month passed a measure to put the question on ballots for statewide voters in November, according to The Chicago Tribune.
The full question on primary election ballots read as follows: “Shall the State of Illinois legalize the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”
Supporters of legalization pointed to the increased tax revenue that has come with legalization, taxation and regulation in other states. Opponents often have concerns about social costs and the fact that marijuana use would remain illegal under federal law.
About six in 10 Americans nationally support marijuana legalization, according to a Pew Research Center survey released earlier this year. Support has nearly doubled what it