Voters in the largest county in Illinois overwhelmingly approved a ballot question calling for the legalization of marijuana on Tuesday.
The measure in Cook County — the nation’s second-most-populous county, which has more residents than 27 states of the union — is not binding, but its passage sends a strong message to state lawmakers that ending cannabis prohibition is an issue that voters want the legislature to address.
The question, approved by voters with a greater than two-to-one margin, reads:
“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?”
Statewide, voters also went to the polls on Tuesday to select party nominees for governor and attorney general, contests in which the candidates’ positions on marijuana legalization has been a key issue.
Businessman JB Pritzker won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
“We can begin by immediately removing one area of racial injustice in our criminal justice system,” he said during a victory speech Tuesday night. “Let’s legalize, tax and regulate marijuana.”
During the course of the campaign, Pritzker repeatedly promised to legalize cannabis.
“I also support legalizing and taxing recreational use of marijuana, which is estimated to generate as much as $700 million a year for the state,” he said. “No more studies are needed to show it’s time for Illinois to safely move forward and legalize marijuana. As governor, I will modernize drug laws and move Illinois towards a criminal justice system that gives all Illinoisans a chance to reach their full potential.”
Our state should legalize marijuana. This is not a moment for a governor who stands with Donald Trump. pic.twitter.com/HTHObxJU5V
— JB Pritzker