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Nevada shouldn’t rush into legal pot sales

Last November, both Nevada and Massachusetts voters passed marijuana industry-written initiatives legalizing commercial pot. In both states, a one-year period was provided for state government to develop a recreational marijuana program, including drafting comprehensive regulations.

In the name of “educational funding,” Nevada politicians and the marijuana industry have entered into an unholy alliance to heedlessly rush the process. An “Early Start” program is now set to begin on July 1 without adequate preparation. Nevada has hired only four new employees to run a complicated “seed to sale” recreational marijuana program that required Colorado to add more than 50 additional employees in 2014. “Light one up for the kids” appears to be the new state motto.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, the legislature and governor, citing the complexities of legalization, including conflict with federal law, extended their “first sale” deadline to 18 months. Massachusetts will have sales begin July 1, 2018— a full year after the Nevada start date.

Massachusetts legislators were not impressed with the “new money for education” argument and vowed to get it right. Marijuana commercialization in Nevada may mean slightly more money for education, but increased pot use will make our kids less able to learn and more subject to dropping out.

Colorado and California followed a one-year policy on “first sale.” So should Nevada.

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