Petition seeks to force lawmakers to consider legalizing marijuana

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A group which tried unsuccessfully to put legalization of marijuana on the November ballot has filed a petition to put the issue before the Nevada Legislature instead.

The petition drive gathered enough signatures to put the marijuana initiative on the November ballot, but then left several thousand signatures in a box until after the filing deadline.

After several attempts to get a court to put the question before voters, the Committee to Control and Regulate Marijuana decided to take a different approach Monday and filed a petition with the secretary of state to put the question before the 2005 Legislature.

Under Nevada law, if they raise the 51,337 valid signatures, their proposed legislation would be submitted to the 2005 Legislature, which would have 40 days to act on it. If lawmakers fail to act on the proposal, it would automatically be put on the next general election ballot for voters to decide.

The initiative proposal would exempt any person 21 or older from criminal or civil penalty for possession, use or transfer of 1 ounce or less of marijuana and from penalties for use or possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

But the proposed law would impose stiff penalties for anyone providing or selling the drug to anyone under age 18. It would also impose penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana.

Nevada law gives the organizers of the petition drive until Nov. 9 to collect and file a minimum of 51,337 signatures.


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