Push to Legalize Recreational Pot in Illinois Takes Step Forward

Illinois voters could soon be able to voice their say on whether the state should legalize recreational marijuana.

Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey plans to announce Tuesday an effort to put the marijuana legalization question on the March ballot.

“Legalizing, regulating and taxing recreational marijuana in Illinois is long overdue,” Fritchey said in a statement. “Polls have shown that Cook County voters, who makes up 40 percent of the Illinois population, are very supportive of the idea. I want to voters to have a direct opportunity to have their voices heard as the debate on this issue in Springfield continues.”

Southern Illinois University’s Simon Poll found that 66 percent of voters believe marijuana should be legal if it’s taxed and regulated like alcohol. Seventy-four percent of state voters have said they support the decriminalization of marijuana.

Last year, Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill that decriminalized up to 10 grams of marijuana, but earlier this year said he’s not supportive of legalizing pot, saying Illinois should look at the impact and ramifications it has had in other states.

Recreational legalization is being supported by some gubernatorial candidates including Daniel Biss, Chris Kennedy and JB Pritzker.

Fritchey and about a half dozen others will speak Tuesday morning about the push for a vote next spring.

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