My friend and new Monday lunch buddy, Genoa attorney Jim Hartman, has been out in Eastern Nevada campaigning against Ballot Question 2, which would legalize so-called “recreational” marijuana in our state. Jim tells me many of our fellow Nevadans fear Question 2 will put our children and grandchildren at risk, and I share their concern.
Hartman, who founded Nevadans for Responsible Drug Policy, told me he was well received in Ely and Elko late last month. He spoke to law enforcement professionals, who expressed concern about children getting their hands on marijuana “edibles” like brownies, candy and cookies if Question 2 passes in November, which has already been defeated twice by Nevada voters.
Hartman showed me a recent New York Times article headlined, “Study Finds Sharp Increase in Marijuana Exposure Among Colorado Children.” Citing a recent study by the American Medical Association’s Pediatric Journal, the article asserts “the rates of marijuana exposure in young children . . . have increased 150 percent” since Colorado voters approved recreational marijuana in 2014.
“To a child on the prowl for sweets, that brownie, cookie or bear-shaped candy (gummy bears) left on the kitchen counter is just asking to be gobbled up,” the article says, adding more children are showing up in Colorado hospital emergency rooms. “We weren’t prepared for the dramatic increase” in emergency room visits, said Dr. Genie Roosevelt, co-author of the AMA-sponsored study and associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Since last year Colorado has required marijuana products to be sold in childproof packaging and last month the so-called “gummy bear law” went into effect; it prohibits the sale of marijuana products in the shape of lovable baby animals, which are irresistible to children. According to the AMA Pediatrics Journal, about half of the marijuana products sold in Colorado last year were edibles.
Well, that’s just one of the issues we’ll have to deal with if Nevada voters approve Question 2. Hartman charges the ballot measure was written by “Big Marijuana,” which he defines as “large corporate marijuana interests.” “This isn’t a Nevada-based libertarian effort to ‘legalize’ or ‘decriminalize’ marijuana,” he argues, warning “millions of dollars from out-of-state Big Marijuana interests” will flow into Nevada between now and Nov. 8, Election Day. I think we should take their money and defeat recreational marijuana, as we did last time around.
In the meantime, however, we can expect potheads from the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) to pester us with petitions and phone calls in support of Question 2 even though we’ve already approved so-called “medical” marijuana, which isn’t medicine. If it was medicine doctors would write prescriptions for it and it would be dispensed by licensed pharmacies.
Here’s how it works in Nevada: You go to Dr. Reefer (no, I’m not making this up), pay him $100 up front and tell him you have a hangnail. He then writes you a permission slip — not a prescription — allowing you to buy medical weed at your friendly neighborhood pot shop. Forget that nonsense about “patients” buying “medicine.” Please!
“Big Marijuana seeks to repeat in Nevada what worked for them in Colorado in 2012,” Hartman told me. “They claimed the marijuana black market would disappear with legalization, but it didn’t.” “Organized crime has come to Colorado to grow marijuana since legalization,” says state Atty. Gen. Cynthia Coffman.
Question 2 is opposed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, Atty. Gen. Adam Laxalt, Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong and a bipartisan coalition of local government officials. Let’s follow their lead and just say “No!” to recreational marijuana.
Guy W. Farmer, a retired diplomat, worked on anti-drug programs in seven countries.