By Bruno Matarazzo Jr.
SALEM — Local voters said "yes" to the idea of legalizing marijuana yesterday in two legislative districts.
It was a non-binding referendum question, but a chance to gauge the opinion of residents. The question asked whether lawmakers should enact legislation that would allow the state to regulate the taxation, cultivation and sale of marijuana to adults.
Locally, it appeared on ballots in the 7th Essex District (Salem) and 8th Essex District (Marblehead, Swampscott and part of Lynn.)
All four communities voted in favor, with a total vote of 16,255 to 12,612.
Salem voted 6,877 in favor and 5,361 against. Swampscott voted 3,471 in favor and 2,608 against. Two wards in Lynn voted 722 in favor and 644 against. Marblehead voted 5,185 yes to 3,999 no.
The question comes two years after voters in Massachusetts voted to allow possession of less than an ounce of marijuana for personal use without incurring criminal penalties. It was put on the ballot through the efforts of the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition.