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Wording of Marijuana Ballot Question Released

By Hempology | August 28, 2002

From the Las Vegas Sun, August 28, 2002

By Ed Koch

The wording for the November ballot question that would make possession of small amounts of marijuana legal in Nevada has been released by the secretary of state’s office.

Secretary of State Dean Heller on Tuesday released the final language that includes the question, explanation and brief arguments for and against passage.

The question as it will appear on the ballot reads:

“Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended to allow the use and possession of up to three ounces or less of marijuana by persons aged 21 years or older, to require the Legislature to provide or maintain penalties for using, distributing, selling or possessing marijuana under certain circumstances and to provide a system of regulation for the cultivation, taxation, sale and distribution of marijuana?”

A “yes” answer means a voter wants to amend the state Constitution to legalize possession of 3 ounces or less of marijuana by adults.

Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick, an opponent of the measure, said early today he had not read the final wording and said Heller’s office didn’t ask him for help on the argument against passage.

Attempts to reach the Clark County District Attorney Stewart Bell and a spokesman for the Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement were not successful.

The explanation by Heller’s office says in part that the proposal also requires “distribution of marijuana at low cost to those medically authorized to use it.”

The measure also prohibits advertising of marijuana and requires the purchase of the drug from “licensed establishments.” The retail sales tax is to be the same “as those of other products generally,” the explanation says.

The argument for passage says proponents feel it is a “waste of tax dollars” to arrest people for small amounts of marijuana and that passage would allow police to focus on more serious crimes. They argue that marijuana has “fewer harmful side effects” than alcohol and tobacco.

The arguments against passage call marijuana a “gateway drug” to harder drugs and that refocusing of law enforcement resources would be outweighed by increased health costs.

If the question is approved in November, it must pass again in 2004 to become law.

It is posted on the office’s website at:

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