Pubdate: Fri, 21 Oct 2016
Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV)
Copyright: 2016 Las Vegas Review-Journal
Author: Colton Lochhead


Opponents of legalizing recreational marijuana in Nevada joined the
fight with barely two months left in the election cycle, but they've
wasted little time in rolling out a well-funded ad campaign.

Question 2 foes launched their first series of digital and television
ads focusing on children's exposure to marijuana and public safety

Their funding came mostly from Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO
Sheldon Adelson, whose donations made up $2 million of the $2.1
million raised by Protecting Nevada's Children PAC, according to
campaign finance reports released Tuesday. The PAC was formed in early
September to oppose Question 2, which would allow adults 21 or older
to legally purchase and use marijuana in Nevada.

The PAC also received smaller contributions from gaming companies
South Point Casino, MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming that
ranged from $10,000 to $50,000.

That funding puts the newly formed PAC on financial even-ground with
its pro-marijuana opponents.

PACs supporting Question 2 raked in $1.8 million from June through
October. The bigger and more visible of the two PACs, Regulate
Marijuana Like Alcohol, raised about $1.3 million mostly through
donations from marijuana companies and investors in the industry.

One of the anti-pot PAC's new ads started airing Oct. 12 on local
television stations. It focuses on issues with edible marijuana
products, which opponents say are too accessible and enticing to
children because they often mimic brand-name candy.

The ad shows two lollipops with floating text that reads: "One is pot.
One is not. Can you spot the pot?" It also asks whether parents and
their children will be able to distinguish between Halloween candy and
edible marijuana if it becomes legal.

Joe Brezny, spokesman for the pro-Question 2 PAC Regulate Marijuana
Like Alcohol, called the ad a "scare tactic" and said the number of
reports of marijuana intoxication in children in Colorado, which voted
to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, is still low, though it
has been increasing. He also said that significantly more children are
hospitalized for ingesting household cleaning supplies.

"If their real aim was to protect Nevada's children, they would run a
campaign against laundry detergent," he said.

Jimmy Stracner, spokesman for Protecting Nevada's Children, said
Question 2 opponents "don't want to see one kid" hospitalized for
marijuana ingestion.

The second ad focuses entirely on roadway safety and cites increases
in marijuana-related traffic fatalities in both Washington and
Colorado since the drug became legal in those states in 2014. For
example, it says that marijuana-related traffic fatalities in
Washington have doubled since legalization, and that pot DUI arrests
in Oregon have increased 163 percent in the first six months of
legalization. The group's digital campaign includes links to news
articles and other sources of information.

In response, Brezny pointed to a AAA study released in May that said
the standard test for marijuana after those crashes doesn't
scientifically prove that someone may have been high at the time of
the accident. The test looks for marijuana metabolites, which can stay
in a person's system for days, or even several weeks after use.

Stracner said the ad was simply pointing out what has changed since
pot became legal.

"We are simply noting that there was a 62 percent increase (in
Colorado) since legalization," he said. "Based on that, one can only
conclude that there are more marijuana users on the road now compared
to years prior (to) legalization."
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