Metro-East News

Cook County voters support statewide legalization of recreational marijuana

Voters in Cook County in northern Illinois backed the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois in a nonbinding referendum on Tuesday.

Over two-thirds of voters in the county, which includes Chicago, agreed to the legalization of recreational marijuana in the nonbinding referendum, according to the Chicago Tribune.

A nonbinding referendum is a question posed to voters where the results do not enact any legal action. It is often used to gauge voters' approval or disapproval of something.

Results from the 2016 election brought about new rules on the use of recreational and medicinal marijuana in several states, with more than half now allowing for the later. Federal government leaders including president-elect Trump have voiced the

The question asked voters whether or not the state of Illinois should 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?"

About 68 percent of voters said yes, ABC Chicago reported.

While the referendum was advisory only, it may provide support for state lawmakers in favor of legalization of marijuana use.

Many supporters say legalizing marijuana would bring revenue to the state while opponents cite marijuana-related health risks and subversion of federal laws.

In 2013, marijuana use for medicinal purposes was legalized in Illinois.

Recreational marijuana is legal in California, Nevada, Washington, Colorado, Maine, Oregon, Alaska and Rhode Island.

Governor Bruce Rauner has come out against legal pot for recreational use, while Democrats J.B. Pritzker and Daniel Biss support recreational cannabis.

Kaley Johnson: 618-239-2526, @KaleyJohnson6