Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska have done it, and just recently, California. The legalization of Marijuana for recreational use is gaining momentum, and moving closer to Chicago's Cook County.
In December of 2017, Cook County commissioners took a unanimous vote to put a non-binding question on the March 2018 primary ballot to give voters the opportunity to weigh in on the proposition. It’s only an advisory referendum though, and will help state lawmakers build their cases for legalizing marijuana throughout the state.
As many know, medicinal cannabis has been legal in Illinois since January 1, 2014, but is only accessible if you have a qualifying medical condition and have a registered medicinal marijuana card. The card allows you to register with a medicinal cannabis dispensary that will be an exclusive location for you to obtain cannabis for the treatment of symptoms of a qualifying medical condition. If cannabis is made legal for both recreational and medicinal use, it could be good for patients who would prefer to use marijuana over opioids to treat un-approved medical conditions.
The ballot referendum question that voters will see on the March primary ballot will read: “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?”
The opinion of the majority of people and legislators on the “for” side of the legalization debate believe that if marijuana is made legal, then the taxation of the substance could have a positive effect on the revenue intake for governments at the local and state level.
A few years ago, marijuana decriminalization support by any government official might result in a premature ending to a career. Today, more people have seen how medicinal cannabis can be a benefit to patients seeking alternative forms of treatment, and that the world won’t come to an end if it becomes legal for recreational use as well. So it’s time to let the voters have their say!