Letters to the editor for Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Legal pot sales should be delayed in Nevada

Nevada’s school system has the lowest scores nationally and is ranked last in education by Education Week, while Massachusetts schools are rated best of all the states.

Last November, both Nevada and Massachusetts voters passed marijuana industry-written initiatives legalizing commercial pot. In both states, a one-year period was provided for state government to develop their recreational marijuana program.

In the name of “educational funding,” Nevada politicians and the marijuana industry entered into an “unholy alliance” to heedlessly rush the process.

An “Early Start” program is now set to begin on July 1 without adequate preparation. “Light one up for the kids” appears to be the new state motto.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, the state legislature and Gov. Baker, citing the complexities of legalization, including fundamental conflict with federal law, extended their “first sale” deadline to 18 months. Massachusetts will have sales begin July 1, 2018 — a year after the Nevada start date. Massachusetts legislators were not impressed with the “new money for education” argument and vowed to “get it right” on prudent implementation.

Nevada’s linking educational funding to legalized recreational marijuana is strange. In Colorado, marijuana use among youths 12-17 increased 20 percent after legalization — No. 1 in the nation. Marijuana commercialization in Nevada may mean slightly more money for education, but our kids will be demonstrably less able to learn and more subject to dropping out.

As Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong cautioned: “We’re coming in too fast, too high, too hard, and we don’t really know what we’re doing.” Colorado and California followed a one-year policy on “first sale” — so should Nevada.

Jim Hartman



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