Cook County voters want to legalize recreational marijuana

CHICAGO — Voters in the Illinois county that includes Chicago have backed the recreational use of marijuana in a nonbinding referendum.

The question for Cook County voters 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.”

At about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, with 93 percent of precincts reporting, 68 percent of voters said “yes.”

Although the referendum is advisory only, the vote could help state lawmakers make their case in Springfield for the legalization of marijuana use.

Supporters of legalizing and taxing marijuana for adults contend it could boost revenue for state and local governments, as it has elsewhere. Opponents of legalized marijuana use have raised questions about the social cost and subversion of federal laws.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle supported the referendum.