If you have a pulse, you've probably heard that Nevada recently legalized recreational marijuana. You may even have voted Yes on Question 2 yourself. Nevadans were provided with lots of reasons for legalization: Law enforcement could focus on more serious crimes. Minorities would no longer be targeted disproportionately for marijuana possession. Marijuana would be safer and better-regulated. And after covering the added expenses of administration, enforcement and substance abuse treatment, we'd even have a bit of tax revenue left over for our schools.

But while you may have thought you were voting for sensible decriminalization, our lawmakers think that you want full-blown commercialization. They are charging wildly ahead with plans that were probably never dreamt of by many Yes voters.

The Nevada State Legislature, for example, is currently considering SB236, a bill to allow public use of marijuana. Its sponsor, Senator Tick Segerblom, envisions people smoking marijuana in bars, streets, concerts and parks. Question 2 promised that public use of marijuana would remain illegal, but it appears that our legislators don’t intend to keep that promise for very long.

Meanwhile, the Reno City Council is moving ahead with plans to let dispensaries sell recreational marijuana under temporary licenses, without even knowing what the final state laws and regulations will be. The city staff – which requested six months to develop rules for retail sales - now has do so in just a couple of weeks. The temporary licenses are part of a state initiative called “Early Start” -- yet another detour from the promises of Question 2, which gave the state an entire year to prepare strong regulations for recreational marijuana.

Unfortunately, our government knows so little about marijuana that the industry is writing its own rules. One third of the working group members charged with developing state regulations are industry representatives. State legislators are sponsoring bills written by industry lobbyists. And this industry is so profit-driven that it even resists legislation intended to protect children from overdosing on edibles. It’s Big Tobacco all over again.

Recreational legalization is a huge social change. It should be implemented carefully and deliberately, after studying the lessons learned by other states. Instead, our legislators want to start selling marijuana right away and figure out the rules later.

If you go to the Nevada State Legislature or the Reno City Council, you’ll hear one common refrain: “This is what Nevadans voted for.” But do they really know what we voted for? When Nevadans voted Yes on Question 2, were they thinking of aggressive advertising and people smoking marijuana in parks? Or did they just want to let people use marijuana in private without fear of being arrested?



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Full Article: No public pot use in Nevada? Legislators breaking promise: Grace Crosley
Author: Grace Crosley
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