The Chicago Tribune reports that Cook County will be putting a question about recreational marijuana on the ballot for the March primary election. This referendum won't be legally binding, but will create significant pressure on the Illinois legislature. The county believes that the vote, if it passes, will start the process towards recreational legalization in Illinois. Citing benefits to criminal justice and public finances, county commissioners have been pushing for the state to legalize recreational marijuana for some time.
Tracking the progress of Illinois closely would be a wise idea, as it would begin to open up marijuana business opportunities in the Midwest as well as on the coasts. As more states approach recreational legalization, more regulatory models for marijuana develop, which can provide additional insight on how the industry will evolve in the face of a growing number of patchwork regulations that change from state to state.