I’ll say this for the drug legalizers: They’re persistent. Once again, for the third time in the past 10 years, the usual suspects are back in Nevada with an initiative petition to legalize “recreational” marijuana in the Silver State.
We defeated them twice before on 60-40 votes and I hope we hand them another well-deserved setback in November. Led by the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), and financed by people like left-wing radical George Soros, fast-talking potheads will try to convince Nevada voters recreational marijuana would be good for our state. Not satisfied with so-called “medical” marijuana, they want to push the legal drug boundaries even further.
Not so fast, say a number of respected Nevadans and community organizations like Join Together Northern Nevada (JTNN) in Reno and Partnership Carson City here in the capital city. I applaud their efforts to supply Nevada voters with facts about legal marijuana. Back in April District 40 Assemblyman “P.K.” O’Neill, a career law enforcement officer, urged local voters to just say “No” to Ballot Question 2, which would legalize recreational marijuana.
“I’ve lived in Nevada half my life,” O’Neill said at a Partnership Carson City-sponsored event. “I do not want a state that takes the slippery slope” of drug legalization. He said his 40 years in law enforcement showed him the dangers of drug abuse and urged those in attendance to speak out against Question 2. “I’m running into drugs constantly,” said Craig Lagier, a chaplain with the local Sheriff’s Office. “Every single one of the drug abusers I talk to started with the recreational use of marijuana.”
Kathy Bartosz, executive director of Partnership Carson City, said kids are receiving mixed messages about marijuana. “When (kids) see marijuana sold as medicine, they think it’s good for you.” Perhaps she was thinking about the “Girl Scout Cookies” brand of medical marijuana (this is medicine?) — a little something for the kids. Ms. Bartosz, Mayor Bob Crowell and Sheriff Ken Furlong also warned about growing prescription drug abuse in Carson City.
“Out-of-state pot industry promoters are pouring millions of dollars into Nevada to legalize recreational marijuana in our state,” wrote Jim Hartman, a Genoa attorney who’s president of Nevadans for a Responsible Drug Policy. “This initiative isn’t a Nevada-based libertarian ‘live and let live’ effort to permit limited backyard marijuana grows,” he wrote in an Appeal op-ed column. “The taxes generated from marijuana sales under this initiative would be totally consumed by the bureaucratic costs of legal pot administration run by state government.”
Hartman added Colorado’s legal “pot sales haven’t covered the regulatory overhead,” and said that state has experienced “an alarming growth in underage marijuana use.” He cited products like “Pot Tarts” and “Pot Gummy Bears” that appeal to children. Meanwhile, Dr. Greg Juhl, a Reno-based emergency room physician, wrote a newspaper op-ed column pointing out “marijuana these days is the product of a multi-million-dollar business where plants are selected to concentrate THC, the ingredient that gets a user high, and minimize CBD, the ingredient that might actually have some medicinal use.”
“Even more frightening, the deleterious effects of marijuana seem to be most pronounced in children including lower high school completion rates and lower IQ,” Dr. Juhl continued. “Big Marijuana is selling us a bill of goods that plays on emotion, politics and misinformation.”
Sheriff Furlong spoke out against Question 2 in April. “Marijuana can be as harmful to society as any drug,” he said. “Meth, marijuana, heroin, burglary, theft, home invasion — they’re all synonyms of each other.” Thanks, Sheriff. Well said!
Guy W. Farmer worked on anti-drug programs in seven foreign countries during his diplomatic career.