Pubdate: Thu, 23 Jun 2016
Source: Reno News & Review (NV)
Column: Let Freedom Ring
Copyright: 2016, Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: Brendan Trainor


Nevada billionaire and Sands Las Vegas CEO Sheldon Adelson once 
proposed the U.S. nuke Iran, and donates to Republican Party 
candidates who share his uncritical and unwavering support for 
Israel. He has lobbied to expand the Interstate Wire Act to outlaw 
all online gambling instead of just sports betting. He is currently 
lobbying for a special session of the Nevada Legislature this summer 
to approve his scheme to bring the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas by an 
increase in the hotel room tax. If the new Las Vegas football stadium 
is such a great idea, why doesn't Mr. Adelson use some more of his 
own considerable fortune to build it?

Mr. Adelson does not want marijuana to be legalized, even medical 
marijuana. He spent millions to defeat medical marijuana legalization 
in Florida in 2014. His views contradict the views of his beloved 
Israel, which has long championed medical marijuana research. In 
fact, the Sheldon Adelson Medical Research Foundation funded a study 
by the Weizmann Institute of Science that found medical marijuana 
eased the swelling in the spinal cords and brains of lab mice and 
could help multiple sclerosis sufferers.

Mr. Adelson recently purchased the Las Vegas Review Journal for $140 
million. The RJ has been a reliably classical liberal publication for 
many years, advocating less government and more individual freedom. 
Before Adelson bought the paper, its editorial policy supported drug 
war reform. On June 7, it published an editorial against Question 2, 
the "Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol" initiative petition that is on 
this year's November ballot. The $140 million editorial advanced 
simplistic arguments against legalization of marijuana that have been 
debunked or deserve a more complex treatment.

Smoking marijuana regularly can be harmful to long term respiratory 
health, but the cowed RJ editorialized that pot is more dangerous 
than tobacco because it contains 500 chemicals and more tars than 
cigarettes. The "500 chemicals" are simply natural non-medicinal and 
non-psychoactive vegetable matter, not industrial chemicals. The 
amount of tar in a joint is mitigated because marijuana users do not 
smoke as much as tobacco users, and the active ingredient THC is a 
bronchodilator. Chronic marijuana use is significantly less risky 
than chronic tobacco use.

The use of vaporizers and edible pot eliminates the risk of inhaled 
combusted impurities.

Edibles (marijuana brownies, cookies, candies, etc.) purchased by 
inexperienced users caused some disorientation and mild nausea, 
increasing emergency room visits after Colorado legalized pot. That 
state issued regulations, and the industry has changed its packaging 
to educate new users on the proper means of ingestion and possible 
side effects of edibles.

Despite alarmist predictions, there has been no notable increase in 
traffic accidents after marijuana was legalized in Colorado. Most 
studies indicate marijuana used alone has only a minimal effect on 
accident rates.

The Review Journal downplayed the criminal justice reform that 
marijuana legalization will bring. It advances a strawman contention 
that few are in prison in Nevada for simple possession. Marijuana 
legalization will eliminate arrests and imprisonment for licensed 
distribution and sales as well as simple possession, so there will be 
a great reduction in prison sentences for overall cannabis-related activity.

Question 2 has a strong chance of passage this year. It is sad to see 
the RJ editorial board capitulate to the reactionary views of its new 
owner. It remains to be seen if the paper's journalists will also 
have to fall in line with Adelson's prohibitionist stance or if 
insightful articles on the marijuana industry and prison reform will 
continue to be published as the RJ has done so well in the past.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom