Legal marijuana makes its way to Cook County March ballot

FILE-In this Nov. 21, 2014, file photo, a former U.S. Marine smokes medical marijuana in Belfast, Maine. A handful of recreational marijuana legalization drives has the medical pot industry bracing for something it never expected to deal with: competition. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, file)

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The Chicago Tribune, had some exciting headlines about a certain, “reeferendum” coming in March.

Voters in Cook County will get the chance to vote on a non-binding question in the March primary on whether recreational marijuana should be legalized.

RELATED: Illinois lawmakers gather to discuss legalizing marijuana

Cannabis advocates have been pushing for cannabis legalization in Illinois for a long time, but the effort has really picked up steam this year. Famous cannabis advocate Rick Steves recently spoke at a hearing in Illinois in front of lawmakers expressing his support for legalization. A number of recent media articles have discussed and debated Illinois’ chances of legalizing marijuana.

A victory in Illinois would be huge considering that it is the 5th most populated state in America. A poll from earlier this year found that 66% of poll participants support legalizing marijuana in Illinois.

The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously this week to seek county residents’ input on the marijuana subject. Some on the board say that a strong turnout in favor of the referendum could result in action at the state level since the vote will come during a legislative session in Springfield.

Supporters say legalizing and taxing marijuana for adults could boost revenue for state and local governments, as it has elsewhere.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is among those who support the legalization of marijuana as a way to increase tax revenue, lessen the burden on law enforcement and jails and prevent negative life effects on minorities who have disproportionately been affected by prohibition. John Fritchey is among the other board members who support legalization.

“What the referendum seeks to do is let our constituents weigh in,” said Commissioner John Fritchey to the Chicago Tribune.

Fritchy, trying to hold back laughter, was the one that called the ballot question a “reeferendum.” Credit is due where credit is due.

RELATED: Cook County commissioner wants marijuana legalization on March ballot

Opponents, including Sean Morrison, on the board have raised questions about social cost and subverting federal laws.

The question will ask if Illinois should legalize “the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older.”

What do you think?

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