Nevada marijuana market initiative planned |

Nevada marijuana market initiative planned

Associated Press

Backers of marijuana decriminalization, unable to win a spot on Nevada’s November ballot, now are pushing a plan to allow stores that would sell the drug and raise revenue for the state through taxes on those sales.

If a signature-gathering effort succeeds, the marijuana markets proposal would be considered by the 2005 Legislature.

The Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana filed its petition Monday with Secretary of State Dean Heller and has until Nov. 9 to collect 51,337 signatures of registered voters.

“It’s going to be close but we’re confident we can get them,” Larry Sandell, campaign manager for the committee, said.

The organization circulated an earlier petition to amend the Nevada Constitution to allow adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, but didn’t meet a deadline for getting the required signatures. It’s appealing that case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

If the committee gets the signatures on the new petition, it will be presented to the 2005 Legislature which must act on it within 40 days. If the Legislature doesn’t act or if it changes the petition, the issue will go on the 2006 election ballot.

The new Nevada initiative says, “Rather than spending millions of taxpayer dollars arresting marijuana users, the state of Nevada should instead generate millions of dollars by taxing and regulating marijuana, and earmark part of these revenues to prevent and treat the abuse of marijuana, tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.”

The state would license wholesalers and retailers to sell the drug. Each would pay $1,000 for an initial license and $1,000 annually for the permit.

A retailer or wholesaler couldn’t locate within 500 feet of a school or church. Licenses for selling the drug wouldn’t be issued to gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, nightclubs, gaming casinos or dance halls. Those businesses that sold liquor would be barred from selling marijuana.

The proposed initiative would prohibit a person from driving under the influence of marijuana. It would also prohibit possessing marijuana in a public place, jail or public school.