Pubdate: Wed, 19 Oct 2016
Source: North Lake Tahoe Bonanza (NV)
Copyright: 2016, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza
Author: Kayla Anderson


NCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - An 8-member panel of students and experts spent
two hours Tuesday night exploring the individual views of those in
favor of and against Nevada's Measure 2 - which proposes the
legalization of marijuana for recreational use for those 21 and older.

Dr. Andrew Whyman hosted the forum at Sierra Nevada College, opening
up the discussion with topics surrounding marijuana about stigma,
social justice, criminal justice, how it impacts youth, regulation,
legislation and more.

As for panel members, despite their titles, some said they came on
their own accord, and thus their views do not represent the views of
their organizations.

Guinasso started the discussion by asking the audience to repeat the
Latin term, "Cui bono," meaning, "For whose benefit?" Guinasso's
belief is people who wrote the measure have too much corporate
interest, and the law would negatively impact Nevada's youth.

"Seventy-five percent of people in the Washoe County rehab centers are
in there for marijuana abuse," he says.

Guinasso added that by removing the criminalization of marijuana, it
opens up the supply to market forces, which in turn increases demand
for marijuana.

In regards to bringing money into the state, Guinasso said, "This
isn't about raising revenue, it's about a $3 billion industry wanting
to come to the state of Nevada and make money."

He is also concerned that if marijuana is legalized, people won't be
able to pass drug tests to get good paying jobs to be able to help
boost Nevada's economy.

"Question 2 was written by the industry - for the industry," Guinasso


Adler responded by explaining the four parts to the medical marijuana
system - the cultivators, laboratory people, dispensers, and
regulation watchdogs. Adler says that when you currently buy medical
marijuana in Nevada, it has to be pure, high grade, gold standard material.

"You cannot go into a dispensary without being buzzed in through three
doors," he says.

To address marijuana edibles getting into the wrong hands, Adler says,
"If someone sells a product unlawfully, they lose their license and
the thousands of dollars that went into getting that license."

Adler said the economic impact of Measure 2 is a 15 percent excise tax
going directly into the state's education fund, as well as other
revenue into the general fund.

"Recreational marijuana will make a $1.1 billion impact from gross
tourism income," he added.

"With legalized gambling, prostitution and casinos serving free
alcohol 24 hours a day, how is this the biggest vice?" he asks. "This
is a plant - the purest, cleanest form of medicine. And you could not
find a more regulated industry in the nation."

Adler continued: "There have been zero overdose deaths (from marijuana
use). If you drink two jars of concentrated marijuana, you will not
die - I guarantee that. Growing up in Carson City, I got offered
marijuana the first time in the sixth grade; marijuana has already
saturated our schools. Let's not do more of the same."


Coyote - who works with recovering addicts in her day job - has
observed that out of alcohol, Big Pharma and other drug use, the one
that has caused the most damage to people's lives is marijuana.

She said that 20 percent of the users consume 80 percent of the
product, which means that the business is not supported by casual
users. If passed, competition in the industry will push the price down
which means consumption will rise.

"As a society, we're better off when we're not intoxicated," Coyote
says. "No doubt we'll make money, but it's a net loss to society."

Coyote feels like edibles are the real game changer because with
marijuana in candy, children have a much higher likeliness of getting
their hands on it.

Brady says the main reason she supports Measure 2 is to decriminalize
it. As a public defender, she sees too many people going to jail for

Licensed in both California and Nevada, Brady says that she currently
has a client who has been in jail for two weeks on a marijuana
possession charge and the judge will not hear her case for at least
another week.

"It costs taxpayers $81 per day to incarcerate her," says Brady. "This
is costing our community a lot of money for something that is
stigmatized and even demonized."

Brady says that marijuana is considered federally as a Schedule One
drug, on par with methamphetamine and heroin, while alcohol is
labelled a Schedule Two drug with much-lesser consequences.

She also sees that low-income minorities are incarcerated at a much
higher rate when "people with money are getting off easier." Brady
says that as a public defender, she has job security with marijuana
being criminalized, but she would like to see it legalized.

"And because it's not regulated, it's interesting to see what
marijuana is laced with when the test results come back," Brady says.
She believes that with legalization, parents still have the
responsibility to take care of their children and keep it out of their


Segerblom is in favor of Measure 2 because the state needs the

"Washoe County needs $300 million for schools, and they're not going
to raise it in sales tax," she says (although if voters adopt Washoe
County Question 1 - the School Sales Tax initiative - this November,
then that would have to be re-evaluated).

Segerblom said that childproof packaging secures the edibles, and if
Measure 2 is adopted, Nevada would gain a huge tourism boost.

As the local judge, Tiras stated that in the criminal justice system,
if you get caught speeding, you can technically go to jail for six
months and get a $1,000 fine.

But that doesn't ever happen unless other factors are involved, like
previous warrants and infractions on a person's record.

"I'm not aware of any other judges in the area who put people in jail
just for marijuana," he says.

Brady contested by saying she has clients who have been incarcerated
strictly on marijuana.

After panelists expressed their individual opinions on the measure,
they questioned each other on issues within the recreational marijuana

"Marijuana is not benign, and it bothers me when people tout that no
one's died because of it. We're not statistics, we're people," Coyote

She shared stories of people who have ingested marijuana, had
psychotic episodes and took their own lives as a result of it.

When Adler said it sounded like less of a marijuana control issue and
more of a gun control issue, a few people in the audience snickered.

Following the forum, Reno resident William McIntyre, who's among the
millenial population, said, "Marijuana has been a part of America's
culture for a long time. It seemed one-sided from the older generation
… the people against it seemed to come from a place of superstition
and fear.

Before the SNC event Tuesday, McIntyre said he was on the fence about
how he was going to vote on the measure, but then stated, "I feel
legalizing it will make it less of a big deal."

Kayla Anderson is an Incline Village-based freelance writer with a
background in marketing and journalism. Email her  ---
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