A pro-marijuana group seeking to legalize the recreational use of the drug in Nevada is getting organized, creating a website where information about the effort, including how to volunteer, can be found.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in April filed its petition to send a recreational marijuana proposal to the 2015 Legislature. Its website is http://www.regulatemarijuanainnevada.org/.
The group also has a Facebook page.
The initiative petition was filed by Joe Brezny, executive director of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association.
To put a petition to change a state law on the ballot in 2016, supporters must collect 101,667 signatures by Nov. 11. Then legislators in 2015 could approve or reject the petition. If they reject it as expected, then it would become a ballot question for voters to decide in November 2016.
The measure is modeled after the recreational marijuana law approved by voters in Colorado.
“Our proposal preserves the medical marijuana laws exactly as they are,” Brezny said when the petition was filed. “Patients will be protected. But it expands the sale of cannabis to adults over age 21. There is a one-ounce limit.”
Internal polling shows support among Nevada voters for legalization by 54 percent to 42 percent, he said. The margin continues to widen in support of legalization with every new poll, Brezny said.
The proposal would enact a 15 percent tax on the wholesale side of the recreational marijuana sales with the proceeds, after expenses to run the program, going to the state public school budget. While it is too early to predict the potential tax revenue to the state, Brezny said Nevada easily could match Colorado, which is seeing more than $1 million in revenue each week.
The website includes the full text of the initiative.
Brezny is working with the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project on the petition. The group previously tried legalizing small amounts of marijuana in Nevada, drawing the support of 39 percent of voters in 2002 and 44 percent in 2006.
Since then, voters in Colorado and Washington state have legalized marijuana, though it remains a controlled substance under federal law.
Nevada is authorizing the creation of medical marijuana dispensaries under a law passed by the 2013 Legislature. The state has had a medical marijuana program since 2001, but there has been no way for patients to acquire the drug except by growing their own or buying it on the black market.
— Sean Whaley
EARLY VOTING A LITTLE SLOW
With 24,538 votes cast during the first week of early voting in Clark County, turnout for the 2014 primaries is just 300 votes behind 2012 numbers, but 10,000 behind 2010.
Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria attributes 2010’s early voting primary turnout to the governor and U.S. Senate races. Brian Sandoval defeated incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons, and Republican Sharron Angle, a former state assemblywoman, was chosen to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid in the general election.
In contrast, the 2014 election does not include a U.S. Senate race, and Gov. Brian Sandoval is expected to win re-election easily.
The Galleria at Sunset mall is the most popular voting site this year, with 2,509 votes cast, followed by Meadows mall at 1,632 and Centennial Center trailer at 1,532.
Waits are nonexistent.
“We don’t have any lines, unfortunately,” Gloria said. “We’d love to have lines.”
To keep polling places moving at a steady pace, Gloria advises voters to study beforehand and mark their sample ballots.
“We’d like voters to be educated when they come to the polls because the ballot is a little long,” he said.
Voters can check their registration status and find voting sites at clarkcountynv.gov/vote. A new, interactive feature on the site shows which polling places are available day to day.
— Kristy Totten
Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3900. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801. Contact Kristy Totten at email@example.com or 702-477-3809. Find her on Twitter: @kristy_tea.