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Laxalt, other Nevada law enforcement officials oppose measure to legalize pot

CARSON CITY — State Attorney General Adam Laxalt and other law enforcement leaders declared their opposition Thursday to a Nevada ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana.

At a news conference in front of the Legislative Building, Laxalt said Question 2, if approved by voters in November, would harm Nevada children and lead to accidental poisonings, addiction and increased road fatalities.

Question 2 would allow people age 21 and older to possess 1 ounce of marijuana for personal use. It would restrict who can grow, test, process and distribute recreational pot to those already licensed to do the same with medical marijuana or who run liquor distributorships.

Nevada’s first medicinal pot shop opened in summer, 15 years after voters approved cannabis for medical purposes.

“None of us care if a 60-year-old baby boomer is smoking marijuana at home,” Laxalt said. “As attorney general, my biggest concern is for the safety and health of all Nevadans.”

Laxalt was joined by Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks, Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson, and sheriff’s and law enforcement officers from around the state.


Laxalt called the experience in Colorado a “parade of horribles.” In the first year of legalization, he said marijuana-related deaths in that state increased 32 percent.

“There is no provision in this ballot initiative to keep edibles out of the hands of children,” Laxalt said.

Hicks said if the initiative passes Nevada will confront a number of public safety issues, particularly impaired drivers.

“When you legalize a drug into our community, you put more impaired drivers on our roadways,” he said, noting that in the past three weeks nine people have died in Washoe County traffic accidents.

Hicks also worried the potency of marijuana today can run 30 percent, much higher than 40 years ago when the percentage was in the single digits.

“This is not the marijuana our parents once smoked,” Hicks said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval earlier said he is opposed to recreational marijuana. Last week the Nevada Sheriffs’ and Chiefs’ Association also announced its opposition.

Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3821. Find @SandraChereb on Twitter.

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