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Here’s a guide to answer your questions on Nevada’s Marijuana Legalization ballot question for the November 8, 2016 general election.

 In News, Opinion

Ballotpedia, the Encyclopedia of American Politics, is a great online resource to check out not only Nevada’s but other states marijuana legalization initiatives for election 2016.  The site provides an overview of each initiative including facts and analysis such as:

  • Text of measure
  • Background of measure
  • Effects on turnout in 2016
  • Support
  • Opposition
  • Media Editorials
  • Reports and analyses
  • Campaign finance
  • Related Measures
  • Recent news

Here’s a guide to answer your questions on Nevada’s Marijuana Legalization ballot question for the November 8, 2016 general election.

First, some voting housekeeping:

Note that early voting takes place for Nevadans from October 22-November 4.  Early voting is done in person- it is not the same as absentee or vote by mail options.  Early voting has become a preferred choice for Nevadans-in the 2014 election over 20% voted early but in 2012, a presidential election, over 50% voted early.  In 2014 only 41% of registered voters turned out but in 2012, over 81% turned out.  With a big turnout expected, early voting is convenient and you can avoid long lines.

Any registered voter may vote early- however registering to vote ends October 18 .  So if you want to vote early, but are not registered, visit here to register to vote in Nevada.  You can also register online at your county’s website and up until October 18 you can expect to see volunteers in front of public buildings and libraries who will help you get registered.  You only have to be 18 to vote!

If you are a Clark County (Las Vegas) resident, check here to get the locations and times for early voting sites.  If not, check your county’s website for early voting locations.

Remember, if you are not registered to vote by October 18, you will not be able to vote in the 2016 election and you will not be able to vote YES on Question 2!

Let’s Look at Question 2, Nevada’s Ballot Initiative to “Legalize the Use and Cultivation of Marijuana by Adults”

The question on the ballot says:

Shall the Nevada Revised Statutes be amended to allow a person, 21 years old or older, to purchase, cultivate, possess, or consume a certain amount of marijuana or concentrated marijuana, as well as manufacture, possess, use, transport, purchase, distribute, or sell marijuana paraphernalia; impose a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale sales of marijuana; require the regulation and licensing of marijuana cultivators, testing facilities, distributors, suppliers, and retailers; and provide for certain criminal penalties?

YES or NO?

A YES vote supports this proposal to legalize one ounce or less of marijuana for recreational use for individuals 21 or over.

A NO vote opposes this proposal to legalize one ounce or less of marijuana use for individuals 21 and over.

The full measure is 12 pages long and you can download it here.  But these are the main points the measure is designed to do:

  • Tax marijuana sales and allocate revenue from such tax to education
  • Authorize the Nevada Department of Taxation to issue licenses to marijuana retailers, suppliers, testing facilities and distributors
  • Give the Department of Taxation the authority to determine the qualifications for licensing and limit the number of licenses issued
  • Authorize local governments to control marijuana business locations
  • Forbid marijuana businesses from operating near schools, childcare facilities, houses of worship, and certain community facilities
  • Impose a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale sales of marijuana
  • Apply the existing sales tax to retail sales of marijuana
  • Use revenue generated from marijuana taxes to support K-12 education.

Description of the Effect of passage

  • The initiative proposes statutory amendments that would regulate and tax marijuana similar to alcohol. If passed, persons at least 21 years old would be allowed to possess and use a limited amount of marijuana. Giving or selling marijuana to minors, driving under the influence of marijuana, and marijuana use in public would remain prohibited.
  • The Nevada Department of Taxation would issue licenses to marijuana retailers, suppliers, testing facilities, and distributors. The Department would determine the qualification for licensure, security, packaging, labeling and testing of marijuana.
  • Counties, cities, and towns would control marijuana business locations. Marijuana businesses would not be able to operate near schools, childcare facilities, houses of worship, or certain other community facilities.
  • Retail licenses will be limited in number. The Department would oversee marijuana businesses and licensees. Licensees who engage in certain conduct, including selling marijuana to minors, allowing minors on their premises, or permitting on-site marijuana consumption would be subject to penalties.
  • An excise tax of 15% would be imposed on wholesale sales of marijuana. The existing sales tax would apply to retail sales of marijuana. Net revenue generated under this proposal would be deposited in the Distributive School Account and used for support of K- 12 education.

Here are some arguments in favor of passage:

Vote Yes On 2! Question 2 will benefit Nevada by regulating marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol:

  • It makes possession of small amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age or older;
  • It establishes strict rules for the cultivation, production, distribution, and sale of marijuana in Nevada; and
  • It will generate millions of dollars in new tax revenue to support K-12 education.

Question 2 is a sensible change in law for the state.

Marijuana prohibition is a failed policy in every sense of the word. Our government took a substance less harmful than alcohol and made it completely illegal. This resulted in the growth of a multi-billion-dollar underground market driven by drug cartels and criminals operating in our communities. We have forced law enforcement to focus on the sale and use of marijuana instead of on serious, violent, and unsolved crimes.

Question 2 is a better way. We need to eliminate the criminal market by shifting the production and sale of marijuana into the hands of tightly regulated Nevada businesses, who will be required to comply with state and local laws, including environmental standards.

By regulating marijuana like alcohol, marijuana businesses will be required to:

  • Test marijuana products to ensure that they are safe and properly labeled;
  • Sell marijuana products in child-resistant packaging; and
  • Check identification of customers to ensure marijuana is not sold to minors.

None of that occurs in the illegal market.

The initiative provides for a 15% excise tax on marijuana, which will generate an estimated $20 million annually. This will cover the cost of enforcing regulations and will also support K-12 education in the state. In addition to this tax, legal marijuana sales will generate more than $30 million annually in state and local sales tax revenue.

To enhance public safety, the initiative:

  • Leaves in place Nevada’s strict laws against driving under the influence of marijuana;
  • Allows employers to have policies against the use of marijuana by employees;
  • Prohibits the use of marijuana in public; and
  • Imposes significant penalties for distribution of marijuana to minors.

It’s time to stop punishing adults who use marijuana responsibly. This initiative will accomplish that goal in a manner that protects consumers, enhances public safety, provides for local control, generates tax revenue, and creates thousands of new jobs in the state. Vote Yes on 2!

The above argument was submitted by the Ballot Question Committee composed of citizens in favor of this question as provided for in NRS 293.252. Committee members: Amanda Connor (Chair), private citizen; Riana Durrett, Riana Durrett PLLC; and John Ritter, Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.  





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