Pubdate: Thu, 23 Jun 2016
Source: Reno Gazette-Journal (NV)
Copyright: 2016 Reno Gazette-Journal
Author: Jim Hartman
Note: Jim Hartman is president of Nevadans for Responsible Drug Policy.


Nevada voters should now brace against millions of dollars from 
out-of-state "Big Marijuana" interests supporting Question 2 on the 
November ballot, the legalization of recreational marijuana. Voters 
need to realize that by voting "yes" on Question 2, they will be 
adopting all provisions of a 12-page initiative written by large 
corporate marijuana interests. Nevadans need to know what it is not. 
This initiative isn't a Nevada-based libertarian effort to 
"decriminalize" or "legalize" marijuana.

Rather, the initiative is a special interest "business plan" crafted 
by and for large marijuana industry donors. It qualified for the 
ballot as a result of pot promoters paying $660,000 to mercenary 
signature-gatherers. Passage will give monopoly powers to existing 
medical marijuana retailers and liquor wholesalers, while 
criminalizing Nevada citizens growing marijuana within 25 miles of 
the proponents' pot shops. "Big Marijuana" wants to buy  through an 
initiative  that which they could not achieve in the scrutiny and 
compromise required by the legislative process. In reality, this 
initiative is phony "legalization."

"Big Marijuana" seeks to repeat in Nevada what worked for them in 
Colorado in 2012. There, they financially overwhelmed opponents by 
5-to-1, spending $3.4 million (90 percent from outside Colorado) in 
passing special-interest legalization. This enormous pro-pot 
advertising advantage overcame opposition from most all public 
officials across the political spectrum, from Democrats like Colorado 
Governor John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to 
Republicans like Attorney General John Suthers and Tea Party 
favorite, Congressman Ken Buck. The two leading newspapers in 
Colorado, the "liberal" Denver Post and the "conservative" Colorado 
Springs Gazette opposed legalization, as did the Colorado Education 
Association and the Greater Denver Chamber of Commerce.

Nevada voters beware: "Big Marijuana" will be repeating their same 
discredited Colorado advertising falsehoods. Their "spinners" in 
Colorado peddled the tale that too much tax money, cop time and space 
are wasted on incarcerating marijuana users. Maybe that was true 
three decades ago, but today it's a myth. According to the Bureau of 
Justice statistics, only 0.7 percent of all state inmates are behind 
bars for simple marijuana possession.

A second "spin" in Colorado was the false claim that the marijuana 
"black market" would disappear with legalization. According to 
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, "the criminals are still 
selling on the black market ... We have plenty of cartel activity in 
Colorado (and) plenty of illegal activity that has not decreased at 
all." In fact, organized crime has come to Colorado to grow marijuana 
since legalization.

Finally, a false promise made in Colorado is repeated in Nevada - 
that marijuana tax money will go to education. As Colorado "weed 
czar" Andrew Freedman observed, the tax dollars brought in largely go 
to the cost of regulating the industry. It's a "big red herring," 
says Freedman.

Don't get fooled, Nevadans - vote "No" on Question 2.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom