Why Nevadas should vote to legalize marijuana

Recently supporters of Question 2 on the November ballot, which would legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana, released a study of the economic impact on the state should the initiative gain voter approval.

The analysis by RCG Economics of Las Vegas estimates the legal pot industry could add $464 million in tax revenue for the state over the next seven years, as well as create 3,300 direct jobs by 2024. Each direct job usually spins off three indirect jobs. The report also said roughly half of the recreational marijuana sales would likely be to tourists, possibly increasing that sector of the state’s economy.

But that is not why we support passage of Question 2, but rather because it is a matter of basic liberty.

The Lockean or libertarian principles upon which this nation was founded hold that individuals are free moral agents who have a right to be secure in their life, liberty, and property and to use those rights however they so choose so long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. Such rights are not granted by government but are inherent — or unalienable.

Excessive use of marijuana may well be harmful to its users, just the same as alcohol, tobacco and overeating. This does not represent a reason for government to ban it outright and imprison those who use it or engage in buying and selling it.

David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute and author of “Libertarianism: A Primer,” explains the concept thusly: “Libertarianism is not libertinism or hedonism. It is not a claim that ‘people can do anything they want to, and nobody else can say anything.’ Rather, libertarianism proposes a society of liberty under law, in which individuals are free to pursue their own lives so long as they respect the equal rights of others. The rule of law means that individuals are governed by generally applicable and spontaneously developed legal rules, not by arbitrary commands; and that those rules should protect the freedom of individuals to pursue happiness in their own ways, not aim at any particular result or outcome.”

Question 2 would impose a 15 percent excise tax on marijuana wholesale transactions and the normal sales tax on retail sales. This money would be allocated for education. The Nevada Department of Taxation would issue licenses to those in the marijuana business. Pot sales locations would be subject to local zoning laws and, like alcohol sales, would generally be prohibited near schools, childcare facilities or churches.

Opponents of the measure argue legalization will make it easier for the drug to fall into the hands of minors, but we suspect regulated retailers will make it more difficult, because scofflaw street vendors have no scruples about to whom they sell.

Actually, studies have found that teen marijuana use has fallen in recent years, even at a time when four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana and 23 others, like Nevada, allow it for medicinal purposes.

We do not advocate marijuana use any more than we advocate prostitution, which is legal in many rural Nevada counties, but rather come down on the side of decriminalization for consenting adults in a properly regulated setting.

It is insane that the fate of those who deign to use marijuana at some point in their lives is dictated by the near-random chance that some are arrested for its possession and spend the rest of their lives with a criminal conviction hanging over them, while others go on to become president.

Individuals should be allowed the freedom to live their lives as they so choose.     — TM

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  1. Dave Shaver says:

    What absolute hogwash. The open and extended use of Marijuana has never proven to benefit society. The idea of its economic benefits are focused on a few who will profit by the distribution of the “weed” at the expense of those who will be negatively affected. Most of my experience in observing and dealing with pot-smokers was while working with young people in Philadelphia. All of those who were addicted to hard drugs were started on that track by the use of pot. It is a false promise.

  2. LaTeesha says:

    Okay Dave, you have never seen proof that legalizing the use of marijuana recreationally would be beneficial? Let’s look at both Washington and Colorado. Since recreational use was legalized, both states have vastly improved in the overall revenue generated for the state. The tax amount alone have each state an improvement by over a million dollars in tax revenue just in the first year alone. Also, crime rates in both states have decreased severely. Oh, and let’s also add… That when an “illegal drug” is then reclassified as “legal”, let’s people find interest in doing it because it’s all around them…and anything legal is never fun. Also, please prove to me that marijuana is a gateway drug… It is a person’s choice to decide to smoke marijuana. Just as, it’s a person’s choice to choose to do meth, cocaine, heroin, acid, etc… The only way a person can be forced to use a drug is if they’re actually being forced. I’ve smoked for almost 16 years, I have a full time, great job, and a single mother of 2 children. All I smoke is marijuana, due to its medical components that help me more than filling my body with chemicals that the pharmaceutical companies insist will make me better. It’s people like you that continue to give marijuana a bad name.

  3. Arlene Terry says:

    The dollar has nothing to do with whether it is right or not. Yes it is a choice but we don’t need it put in front of our kids who are incapable of making right choices until the brain is developed at the age of around 26. Teenagers that take up smoking usually drop out of school. We need to try to avoid all temptations of evil when it comes to our kids. Or is it MOM and DAD does it so I will too. NO. We need to keep our children safe our schools struggle with finance and now we are going to get more funds in the state with this evil substance. Yes it is your choice but children have not the developed brain to choose something better when it is placed before them and told that this makes me feel good. Don’t vote for this Bill. You want to tie up our police force to that tries so hard to keep us safe.

    • Both my parents smoked weed my entire life. They are not the reason I started smoking. I chose to try it, I chose to continue it. Have you ever looked into the benefits of marijuana? Probably not, otherwise, you’d more than likely be on board with the legalization of marijuana. So, why is it okay for Ely to be the town known for its meth distribution and alcohol consumption… But weed is the big “no no”….? I’ve seen more destruction from a person’s alcohol use than I have from pot. Also… Might I also point out that recreational legalization does not mean that a person is allowed to drive while smoking or under the influence, and if caught doing so, they would still get a DUI…? Please, explain to me how marijuana is really that bad in comparison to pain killers, alcohol, and other legal “substances”… Because I can think of at least 20 different ways that marijuana is more beneficial than the other legal substances. The only reason that marijuana isn’t legal is because if people truly understood the benefits of it, pharmaceutical companies would fail and go broke. So before anyone of you continue to bad mouth a substance that helps more than it hurts, please do your research. You might find yourself educated on realism.

  4. There is a vast difference between a prohibition and a state-sponsored promotion.

    Ignore the common gateway tendencies, demand the ‘freedom’ to do whatever makes your rear end itch, try to make money at it, make it as pervasive and as available as possible like some silly fever dream in a Cheech and Chong movie, and you still won’t change the basic things: the crap stinks, makes people at least temporarily stupid, stays in your system longer than alcohol, and gets in the way of urban and industrial safety.

    SO, do you want a job and a life in which you are capable of responsible activity – or do you want lethargy, bad breath, lung disease, skunky clothing, and a perpetual contradiction to safe self transport (and therefore most forms of employment)?

    Right, pot’s just great until you wake up, grow up, and realize that it isn’t a (rewarding) ‘lifestyle’ – it’s actually a disconnect from both responsibility and reality. And if you smoke pot anywhere near me, do I have a right to NOT EXPERIENCE IT? Funny, there isn’t such a thing as second hand drinking.

    So, make your choices. But don’t try to tell me it’s great – and don’t try to tell me we should be openly surrounded by it because you happen to have a penchant for it, unless you are willing to accept the rules and regulations that naturally come with legalization of things (that’s right, like with alcohol).

    What’s that? You expect total freedom to do what you want and ‘live and let live’? It doesn’t work that way, and some things aren’t worth the (tax) revenue in the long run. (You might try at least a little dull thinking beyond your nose, even if it has gone dead from all the pot.)

    In the mean time, ‘your clothes smell, stoner’.

    • Just another "smelly" pothead says:

      Gee Wheeler, so many stereotypes employed in your mindless, uneducated rant, you must have set a new record of some kind. Why don’t you post about black people and how they eat a lot of watermelon and chicken? How about a post on Mexicans and their laziness? Better yet, women and their inability to compete with men in the business world? Maybe next time, before you spout off on a subject you have absolutely no knowledge of, you might want to cite a study or two, or maybe one of the many thousands that have been published that have long since discredited your shallow, unschooled, reefer madness beliefs, prejudices and trite, misinformed accusations.

      • Sorry, Smelly – 2012 article citing a Yale study: “Marijuana may really be gateway drug… The study found that, among both men and women, those who had used marijuana were 2.5 times more likely than those their age who abstained to later dabble in prescription drugs.” Is Yale typically inclined to stereotypes, or was that not one of the stereotypes you were referring to?

        Oh but wait, here’s another citing a Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago study from 2014: “There have been a growing number of studies that suggest that marijuana use in emerging adults is associated with differences in brain structure and cognitive abilities,” said Gruber, also the director of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core at McLean Hospital outside Boston. “I’m not saying (pot smoking) is analogous to shooting heroin or cocaine, but it’s also not quite the benign substance people thought it was…”

        Further “…Responding to a study that found a decline in IQ points among people who used marijuana regularly, (the director) of the National Institutes of Health, said recently that people should be more aware of these potential brain impacts.”

        I’ll let you track these down, they’re not difficult articles to locate – assuming normal brain structure. But in the meantime, you might be desperately confusing ‘that personal thing you want to do’ with race and culture. You glorify pot with the assignment of culture while insulting so many with your references to race and the suggestion of equivalency. I think they call that (typically under-educated) spouting off.

        Maybe it’s the pot/brain thing?

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