Petition to legalize marijuana filed

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The group Nevadans for Sensible Marijuana Laws has formally filed a petition to legalize, regulate and tax the cultivation and use of marijuana in Nevada.

The group will need to gather 97,002 signatures to send the measure to the 2011 Legislature. If lawmakers don't act, it would be placed on the 2012 ballot.

The proposed statute would allow up to 120 retail sales outlets for marijuana statewide. It would also allow the state to license and regulate up to 50 marijuana growers.

In addition to hefty fees ranging from $2,500 for a retail license and $5,000 for a grower's license, wholesalers would pay a $50 per ounce excise tax to the state, and retailers would charge sales taxes.

Anyone 21 or older would be legally allowed to buy and use up to one ounce of marijuana from one of the licensed retail outlets. Stores would be prohibited from keeping records that could be used to identify customers, and local governments would be barred from enacting laws to block the legal stores.

Campaign manager Dave Schwartz said the issue is being brought back to voters this year because people are looking at restrictive marijuana laws differently than 2006, when they failed to get enough signatures.

"The political climate has changed," Schwartz said. "We're seeing that nationwide."

Stores and growers would be kept at least 500 feet from schools, child care establishments and religious centers. Gas stations, convenience stores, night clubs, casinos, bars and liquor stores could not sell pot.

In addition, no advertising would be allowed.


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