State wasting time and energy on legal pot
Assemblyman Jim Wheeler correctly identified 23 marijuana-related bills introduced in this Nevada legislative session as consuming an inordinate amount of time and attention of lawmakers. Time spent on the state-run marijuana program is time stolen from dealing with larger questions of economic development/job creation, education reform and funding, transportation needs and public health and safety.
However, Nevadans haven’t seen anything yet. Expect even greater focus on marijuana in future legislative sessions. In Colorado, state law enforcement organizations asked for a legislative moratorium after 81 marijuana-related bills had been introduced from 2013-2016. This blizzard of legislation left police and prosecutors complaining that they were lost in enforcing marijuana laws.
Local governments should also anticipate a similar attention drain in implementing marijuana legalization. A Massachusetts legislative special committee on marijuana observed “legalization by our state and local governments would consume enormous amounts of time and energy that could otherwise be spent addressing other challenging issues already facing our cities and towns.”
Douglas County public officials — District Attorney Mark Jackson with a unanimous Planning and County Commission — have demonstrated great wisdom in “zoning out” commercial marijuana establishment uses in this county. By doing so, Douglas County officials can give their full attention to other more productive and higher priority matters.