Washington state and Colorado recently legalized the use of Cannabis for recreational use, and now Nevada might be doing the same. If the pro-marijuana group who filed the petition have anything to do with it Nevada will be next to legalize cannabis. They must acquire 101,667 signatures by November 11. If acquired, voters will most likely vote on this issue in 2016. The legislators will decide in 2015 whether to reject or accept the petition. If rejected it will then become up to the voters in 2016.
Joe Brezny, executive director of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), is the one who filed the petition with the Secretary of the State in the Las Vegas office. According to Brezny the law of medical marijuana will not change. What will, however, change is the right to use it for recreational purposes. It would be similar to Colorado’s law. The user of course would have to be 21 or older to purchase the legalized cannabis. Also, there will be a one ounce limit.
People seem to more open when they realize it will not be legal for just anyone to buy. Currently, in the state of Nevada if a person is caught with less than an ounce of marijuana the legal ramifications are six-hundred dollars for a first time offense if the person is over 21 years old. If they are under 21 years old, the legal ramifications are higher as, it is considered a class-E felony with one to four years in jail, and a five-thousand dollar fine. Most are put on probation for first and second time offense.
A poll in 2013 showed that there was a good support for legalizing it next in Nevada with 54 percent for legalizing cannabis. If passed it would require a 15 percent sales tax. Of course, it is too early to predict an exact number in sale taxes, but Brezny thinks it could easily rival Colorado’s one million weekly sales tax. This will bring a lot of needed revenue for the state if the law is passed. The NCIA is confident it will pass as the support for legalization has grown substantially since 2002. In 2002 they only had the support of 39 percent of voters.
Last year medical Cannabis dispensaries were put into place thanks in part to Senator Tick Segerblom (D) and Senator Mark Hutchison (R). It only seems logical for the next step to be legalizing Cannabis in the silver state. The true goal is to get it legalized to show the public it is nothing to be afraid of according Brezny. If you compare it to gambling it is no less scary. It may have been hard to get used to, but now it is a normal pastime in the silver state.
Other states to be next in line will probably be Alaska, Arizona, California, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Rhode Island and Vermont. All of these states have made great strides towards legalizing cannabis. It makes sense that a state like Nevada will be the next in line to legalize cannabis. By the time they get ready to vote on this issue people should not be afraid as the medical marijuana will be up and running smoothly by then. It is really no longer a right or left side issue, both sides seem to be coming together to support each other in this issue.
Opinion by Heather Tillman