Nevada's Move Towards Decriminalization (Collection)

By Bajeda · Aug 9, 2006 · ·
  1. Bajeda



    In November 2006, the citizens of Nevada will face a difficult decision. Nevadans will vote on a ballot initiative that seeks to replace our failed marijuana laws with a system of strict regulation and control.

    Last year in the United States, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies arrested more people for simple marijuana offenses that hit an all-time high of 771,605 nationwide - more then one arrest per minute. That's equivalent of arresting the populations of Las Vegas and Reno combined. The Nevada Department of Public Safety has released its crime and justice report for the year 2005, which contains a monthly crime data report submitted by law enforcement agencies across the state. According to the monthly data, 5,532 marijuana arrests were made in Nevada. The crime and justice reports states; "Nevada Arrested More People for Marijuana Possession Last Year Than Murder, Manslaughter, Rape, Robbery, and Aggravated Assault Combined."

    The marijuana initiative would benefit Nevada; will make our communities safer by removing marijuana from the criminal market and taking money out of the hands of violent gangs and drug dealers. This initiative would crack down on the marijuana sales to minors, by doubling the penalties for anyone who gives or sells marijuana to a minor. Also, marijuana stores could not be located within 500 feet of a school, and only adults ages 21 or older who show a valid ID could purchase marijuana or even enter marijuana stores; "Drug dealers don't card". In addition, the initiative would generate tax revenues for alcohol and drug treatment, by requiring that adults who want to use marijuana legally must obtain it from strictly regulated business - generating $28 million in annual tax revenues for the state instead of profits for drug dealers.

    Our marijuana laws in Nevada are not working. It is time for a real solution: strict regulation and control. Nevada's failed marijuana laws cost taxpayers millions of dollars a year.

    What are the health effects of marijuana? Unlike with alcohol or tobacco, no one has ever died from using marijuana. In addition, while marijuana is not harmless, its risks are lower than those of many legal drugs.

    Can cause stroke; Alcohol - yes, Tobacco - yes, Marijuana - no.

    Overdose can cause death - Alcohol - yes, Tobacco - yes, Marijuana - no.


    The marijuana initiative would remove criminal penalties for adults aged 21 and older who responsibly use and possess up to one ounce of marijuana - the equivalent of one-and-a-half packs of cigarettes - in the privacy of their own homes. Increase penalties for motorists who kill someone while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or any other drug, or smoking marijuana in public, using or possessing marijuana on school grounds or prisons, and transporting marijuana across state lines.



    Marijuana legalization? No thanks

    function createQString(s) { return escape(s); } var Heading = "Marijuana%20%20legalization%3F%20No%20thanks"; var tempTitle = createQString(Heading); var Title = "&t="+tempTitle;Guy W. Farmer
    Special to the Appeal
    July 16, 2006

    When the Appeal last month republished an editorial from Fallon's Lahontan Valley News endorsing a ballot initiative that would legalize small amounts of marijuana, the potheads rejoiced on the Appeal's Web site. But they must have been disappointed a few days later when Editor Barry Ginter reiterated this paper's longtime opposition to drug legalization.

    "There may be some readers under the impression that the Appeal ... has endorsed a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana," Ginter wrote. "We haven't." He rejected arguments calling pot a "harmless drug" and favored "whatever option results in the least amount of marijuana being used in Nevada," which sounds reasonable to me. Because, as my loyal readers know, I'm adamantly opposed to the legalization of marijuana and other dangerous drugs.

    The potheads will surely criticize me yet again for labeling marijuana as a dangerous drug, but don't take my word for it. Earlier this year, studies by Minnesota's respected Mayo Clinic found that regular marijuana use can cause health problems ranging from memory loss to cancer. Specifically, clinic researchers reported that pot smoking can inhibit short-term memory; reduce hand-eye coordination, reaction time and muscle strength; limit attention span; increase the risk of schizophrenia, and may even cause paranoia, anxiety and/or panic attacks.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reinforced those findings in April by declaring that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S., and has a lack of safety for use under medical supervision. The FDA further determined that pot smoking is harmful and that there are no sound scientific studies supporting the safety or efficacy of "medical" marijuana. Other than that, the drug is completely safe.

    A recent investigative report by the Des Moines (Iowa) Register warned that "today's marijuana is at least 10 times more potent than it was in the 1970s," and quoted the Iowa Crime Lab as saying that 21st century pot produces "a stronger, longer-lasting high whose effects reach far beyond the so-called 'munchies' and drowsiness" caused by earlier, milder forms of the drug. Iowa Drug Czar Marvin Van Haaften added that today's marijuana contains THC (the main active chemical in the drug) levels of more than 20 percent, compared to average THC levels of two percent in the 1970s.

    Van Haaften echoed an earlier warning by House Drug Policy Subcommittee Chairman Mark Souder (R-Ind.), who urged Congress to oppose marijuana legalization initiatives in several states, including Nevada. "Marijuana is a gateway drug," he wrote in a letter to fellow lawmakers. "Far from being a 'benign' substance, marijuana is a dangerous, addictive drug that is frequently the first step into the abyss of lifelong drug addiction." He based his comments on a recent study by the University of Otago, New Zealand, Medical School, which concluded that "there is a clear tendency for those using cannabis (marijuana) to have higher rates of usage of other illicit drugs," including methamphetamine, which is destroying lives in Nevada and elsewhere around the country.

    The Reno Gazette-Journal recently published an in-depth report on the devastating impact of methamphetamine on the youth of Northern Nevada. According to a 2005 survey by the State Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, some 10 percent of Washoe County high school students and five percent of middle school students had tried meth at least once, creating a pool of thousands of potential teenage meth addicts in our area.

    But what really got my attention was how many of the young drug users interviewed by the RG-J had experimented with marijuana before turning to meth. The anecdotal evidence that pot is a gateway drug contradicts claims by the Washington, D.C.-based, George Soros-financed Marijuana Policy Project, which is pushing drug legalization initiatives in Nevada and several other states. I'm pleased to report, however, that a similar MPP-sponsored Nevada ballot measure was defeated by a 60-40 margin two years ago and hope that my fellow voters will again say no to drugs in November.

    The RG-J cited the instructive case of 17-year-old Cyndle Bell, of Carson City, whose tragic story was first made public when the Appeal's Teri Vance wrote that Ms. Bell "started drinking at 11 and smoking pot at 12, before meth almost destroyed her life. Her experience coincides with what local Justice of the Peace John Tatro told me two years ago - that at least half of the meth abusers who appeared in his court also tested positive for marijuana.

    So let me reiterate a question I posed earlier this year: "If marijuana smoking can lead to the chronic use and abuse of meth and other more addictive drugs, and if meth is the No. 1 law enforcement priority in our city (which it is), what sense does it make to legalize possession of 'small' amounts of marijuana?" None, as far as I can see, which is why I'm encouraged to know that my opinion is shared by many community leaders including Mayor Marv Teixeira and Sheriff Ken Furlong, both of whom have had to deal with meth addiction problems in their own families. I wish them well and offer my support in their high-profile campaign to combat the plague of illegal drugs in Carson City.

    • Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, participated in the War on Drugs in seven countries during his 28-year U.S. Foreign Service career.



    Full Text of 2002 Nevada Marijuana Legalization Petition

    [FONT=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]Initiative Petition, A Marijuana Legalization Initiative
    State of Nevada
    [/SIZE][/FONT] [FONT=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][SIZE=-1](Editor's Note: [Strikethrough] is existing statutory language the initiative will remove. Bold Italics is language the initiative will add.) [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]The People of the State of Nevada do enact as follows: [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]Section 1. Section 38 of Article 4 of the Constitution of the State of Nevada is hereby amended to read as follows: [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]Sec. 38.
    Use of [plant of genus Cannabis] marijuana for medical purposes [:] and regulation of marijuana. [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]1. As used in this section, "marijuana" means a plant of the genus Cannabis or its product. [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]2. The use or possession of three ounces or less of marijuana by a person who has attained the age of 21 years is not cause for arrest, civil or criminal penalty, or seizure or forfeiture of assets. [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]3. The legislature shall provide or maintain penalties for:
    (a) Driving dangerously, or operating heavy machinery, while under the influence of marijuana.
    (b) The distribution or sale of marijuana to, and the possession or use of marijuana by, persons who have not attained the age of 21 years.
    (c) The smoking of marijuana in a vehicle or public place, including a publicly operated carrier of passengers, a public park, or a place where gaming is permitted.
    (d) The distribution, sale, possession, or use of marijuana on the premises of a jail, prison, or public school.[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][SIZE=-1] [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][SIZE=-1][1.] 4. The legislature shall provide by law for:
    (a) The use of marijuana by a patient, upon the advice of his physician, [of a plant of the genus Cannabis] for the treatment or alleviation of cancer, glaucoma, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; severe, persistent nausea [of] or cachexia resulting from these or other chronic or debilitating medical conditions; epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizure; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscular spasticity; or other conditions approved pursuant to law for such treatment.
    (b) Restriction of the medical use of [the plant] marijuana by a minor to require diagnosis and written authorization by a physician, parental consent, and parental control of the acquisition and use of [the plant] marijuana.
    (c) Protection of [the plant] marijuana and property related to its use from forfeiture except upon conviction or plea of guilty or nolo contendere for possession or use not authorized by or pursuant to this section.
    (d) A registry of patients, and their attendants, who are authorized to use [the plant] marijuana for a medical purpose, to which law enforcement officers may resort to verify a claim of authorization and which is otherwise confidential.
    (e) Authorization of appropriate methods for supply of [the plant] marijuana to patients authorized to use it [:] and for the distribution of marijuana at low cost to those patients.
    (f) A system of regulation, designed to curb the unlawful production of or trafficking in marijuana, for the cultivation, taxation, sale, and distribution of marijuana to persons authorized under this section to use or possess it, under which:
    (1) All advertising of marijuana through television, radio, newspapers, magazines, or billboards is prohibited.
    (2) A person who has attained the age of 21 may purchase marijuana from licensed establishments.
    (3) The license fees at wholesale and retail are the same for marijuana as for cigarettes, the tax for sale at wholesale are the same for marijuana as for tobacco products other than cigarettes, and the tax for sale of marijuana at retail is the same as the combined taxes on sales at retail of other products generally.
    (4) The transport of marijuana into or out of this state is prohibited unless federal law permits such transport.
    [FONT=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][SIZE=-1][2] 5. This section does not[:]
    (a) Authorize the use of possession of the plant for a purpose other than medical or use for a medical purpose in public].
    (b) require reimbursement by an insurer for medical use of [the plant] marijuana or accommodation of [medical] any use, possession or being under the influence of marijuana in a place of employment. [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]6. Any statute or regulation inconsistent with this section is null and void after January 1, 2005.[/SIZE][/FONT]

    [FONT=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][SIZE=-1][/SIZE][/FONT]

    [SIZE=-1][FONT=Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]================================================


    [/FONT][/SIZE]Summary/FAQ of 2006 Nevada Marijuana Legalization Petition


    What does the initiative do? The initiative would allow for the possession and sale of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults ages 21 and older in the state of Nevada. By removing marijuana from the criminal market, the initiative takes money out of the hands of violent gangs and drug dealers and taxes it. Half of the tax money would fund state-sponsored alcohol and drug treatment, while the other half would be earmarked for the general fund, where it can be used for education, fixing the roads, and other expenses the state faces.
    The initiative institutes reasonable safeguards on who may purchase marijuana and how marijuana is sold: Only state-licensed shops will be able to sell marijuana. The shops cannot be located within 500 feet of a school or house of worship. No place that sells alcohol will be allowed to sell marijuana -- nor would gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, casinos, or dance halls, and you’d have to be 21 years of age or older and show valid ID to even enter a shop. Finally, the initiative doubles the penalties for giving or selling marijuana to a minor, and it doubles the maximum penalties for killing someone while driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, or any other drug.

    Is this initiative for medical marijuana? No, this initiative is about taking the sale of small amounts of marijuana to adults out of the hands of violent gangs and drug dealers and putting it into a tightly regulated market. However, even though the state allows patients to possess marijuana, it does not provide a legal and safe way for patients to obtain it.
    Although the initiative is not specifically geared toward patients, it will give them a safe way to obtain a consistent supply of their medicine by setting up a regulated system of state-licensed marijuana retail shops. Currently, state-registered medical marijuana patients are forced to resort to the criminal market to obtain their medicine.

    Where will the marijuana stores be located?
    Our initiative contains sensible safeguards that restrict who can buy marijuana, who can sell it, and where they can sell it. Only state-licensed shops will be able to sell marijuana, and they cannot be located within 500 feet of a school or house of worship. Also, no place that sells alcohol will be allowed to sell marijuana -- nor would gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, casinos, or dance halls. Finally, you’d have to be an adult aged 21 or older with a valid ID to even enter a marijuana store. This is a vast improvement over our current marijuana laws, which have created a violent criminal market where drug dealers sell marijuana wherever they want, to whomever they want.

    If the initiative passes, won’t the feds just come in and shut it down?
    It is within Nevada’s power to pass this law. Back when Nevada’s medical marijuana initiative was on the ballot, federal authorities threatened to shut it down if it passed. It’s been in effect now for over five years, and these threats never materialized. In an age when the federal government cannot manage to inspect even five percent of containers coming into this country or adequately respond to a hurricane, one would hope they have better things to do than prosecute Nevadans who are abiding by state law.


    The full text of the initiative is attached. I think its too long to post in its entirety. Sorry if this topic has already been covered.

    The issue goes to the ballot November 2006. We will have to see what happens. Hopefully the voters will make reasonable and thought out decisions. Even then, if this thing passes who knows how the Federal Government will react.


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