MAKE MARIJUANA POSSESSION CHARGE A MISDEMEANOR

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Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2000 04:31:08 -0800
From: "D. Paul Stanford" <stanford@crrh.org>
To: restore@crrh.org
Subject: NV: Judicial Panel: Make Marijuana Possession Charge A
Misdemeanor
Message-ID: <5.0.0.25.2.20001206043038.04ff3e60@mail.olywa.net>

Newshawk: Cannabis News - marijuana, hemp, and cannabis news
Pubdate: Tue, 05 Dec 2000
Source: Las Vegas Sun (NV)
Copyright: 2000 Las Vegas Sun, Inc.
Contact: letters@lasvegassun.com
Address: P.O. Box 4275, Las Vegas, NV 89127
Fax: (702) 383-7264
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Forum: http://www.vegas.com/ubbcgi/Ultimate.cgi
Author: Kim Smith, Las Vegas Sun
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JUDICIAL PANEL: MAKE MARIJUANA POSSESSION CHARGE A MISDEMEANOR

A judicial commission that is recommending a reduction in penalties in
minor marijuana cases is not in favor of legalizing the drug, Justice of
the Peace Nancy Oesterle said.

Instead, the Judicial Assessment Commission wants to bring Nevada in line
with other states while saving taxpayers thousands, Oesterle said.

In 1993 the Nevada Supreme Court formed the commission to look at Nevada's
justice system so it could make recommendations to the Legislature and
create new rules under the Nevada Supreme Court.

As a result, the state's drug courts were expanded, a medicinal marijuana
law was passed and funding for the expansion of the Clark County Detention
Center was obtained.

Chief Justice Bob Rose reconvened the commission last year and its second
list of recommendations was formally released Monday.

The commission is again recommending that people who are now being charged
with felonies for possessing or using small amounts of marijuana be charged
instead with a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor.

Oesterle said that the vast majority of people who are charged with those
crimes end up pleading guilty to misdemeanors anyway as the result of plea
agreements. By citing them with misdemeanors to start with, Nevada will
save the cost of housing the defendants in jail pending trial, attorney
time and court time.

"Nevada is the only state that treats these crimes as felonies," Oesterle
said. "The committee specifically does not condone these two crimes, but it
wants the law to be applicable to what's really happening in the court
system. This is a realistic approach to these crimes."

The commission is also recommending that minor traffic offenses -- those
that result in four demerits or less -- be re-categorized as civil offenses
instead of criminal offenses, Oesterle said.
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