Pubdate: Tue, 09 Nov 2004
Source: Associated Press (Wire)
Copyright: 2004 Associated Press
Author: Christina Almeida, Associated Press
Cited: Marijuana Policy Project ( )
Cited: The Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana (CRCM)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Ballot Initiatives)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


LAS VEGAS -- A group seeking to legalize small amounts of marijuana in
Nevada filed paperwork Tuesday that would compel state lawmakers to
take up the issue during next year's legislative session.

The Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana has filed
84,665 signatures in five counties. They need a minimum of 51,337
signatures of registered voters to qualify.

"The marijuana regulation initiative makes sense because it
gives society control over marijuana, while our current prohibition
policies keep marijuana completely uncontrolled," Rob Kampia,
executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington,
D.C., said in a statement.

Kampia was in Las Vegas to turn in signatures and help
promote the Nevada initiative, which would legalize possession of up
to 1 ounce of marijuana by adults in the state.

If the signatures are verified, state lawmakers would have to
consider passing it during the first 40 days of the 2005 session. If
they don't, it automatically goes on the 2006 ballot.

Larry Sandell with the Committee to Regulate and Control
Marijuana said the group doesn't expect the Legislature to pass the
initiative, but hope a discussion of the issue will help their cause.

"It's ... important for the Legislature to have this debate
before it goes to the people," Sandell said. "It will help bring more
light to the issue and legitimize it."

The group failed to get the required signatures needed to
qualify for the Nov. 2 ballot. Group officials said the petition would
have qualified if a federal judge had allowed about 2,000 signatures
of newly registered voters whose information had not been immediately
forwarded to election registrars.

The committee appealed to the 9th Circuit Court but lost on a
2-1 panel vote, and their request for a rehearing before the full
court was refused.

"Nevada voters were deprived of the chance to vote on our
marijuana regulation initiative a few days ago, but they will have the
opportunity to do so in November 2006," Sandell said.

Nevada voters have approved the use of marijuana for medical
reasons, but in 2002 overwhelmingly rejected the measure to legalize
up to 3 ounces of marijuana.

The latest plan would increase penalties for providing
marijuana to minors or for causing a fatal accident while driving
under the influence of the substance. Sale of marijuana would be
taxed, and revenue would be earmarked for drug and alcohol treatment
and education programs.

On the Net:

Marijuana Policy Project in Nevada,
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