The preamble to the Nevada Marijuana Initiative states, “In the interest of the public health and public safety, and in order to better focus state and local law enforcement resources on crimes involving violence and personal property, the People of the State of Nevada find and declare that the use of marijuana should be legal for persons 21 years of age or older, and its cultivation and sale should be regulated similar to other legal businesses.”
“The People of the State of Nevada declare that the cultivation and sale of marijuana should be taken from the domain of criminals and be regulated under a controlled system, where businesses will be taxed and the revenue will be dedicated to public education and to the enforcement of the regulations in this act.”
Does the State of Nevada agree?
This is the question that every person in Nevada who is interested in Cannabis wants to know: is Nevada ready for adult use of marijuana?
Many Nevadans believe that since the state already offers legalized prostitution and gambling, that it just makes sense to legalize marijuana as well. On the other side however, there are others who believe that Nevada is a conservative state and that decriminalizing marijuana is not in the voter’s interest. Personally, I don’t believe that the average voter in Nevada has enough knowledge about the Marijuana Initiative to choose one way or the other.
The initiative was approved for the November ballot and was released on March 16, 2016 via the Nevada Secretary of State website. It is a twelve-page, eight-section document in which three of the pages are descriptions of effects. A few sections are titled: Definitions, Limitations, Powers and Duties, Personal Use, and Excise Tax. To my surprise, the language used in the Marijuana Initiative wasn’t difficult to understand and once I completed the reading, the direction the initiative would take here in Nevada became quite clear.
One thing that every voter in Nevada should know is that the intention of this initiative is to end prohibition and decriminalize marijuana. Stated within Section 6., Personal Use and Cultivation of Marijuana, it allows for a person over the age of 21 (adult use in Nevada) to purchase, possess, or transport one ounce or less of a marijuana flower or 1/8 of an ounce or less of concentrated marijuana such as: edibles, wax, dab, shatter, etc. without prosecution.
Though adult use will no longer be considered a felony in the state of Nevada this won’t negate penalties altogether. The initiative will make it legal for those over the age of 21 to grow their own marijuana as long as you don’t live within 25 miles of a marijuana retail store and where you grow must be out of sight and secured with lock and key. If you do decide to break this rule, the consequences are detailed in sec 14. Penalties. This section states you will in fact incur a fine. The first violation is considered a misdemeanor with a fine not to exceed $600. The second offense will amount to a fine of $1,000. The third offense will be considered a gross misdemeanor and finally, after the fourth offense, an offender will qualify for a Category E Felony (1 to 4 years and $5,000 fine) . The penalties outlined in the Marijuana Initiative for growing plants illegally almost mirror the current penalties in Nevada for possession under an ounce of marijuana. With the exception of participation in a drug rehabilitation program and the third offense being a fine of $2000 and upwards of one year in prison.
It’s imperative that I point out the initiative will allow the state to impose a 15 percent excise tax on all wholesale sales of marijuana. This tax will be used to pay for the costs of carrying out the initiative (jobs) and whatever is left will be deposited into the State Distributive School Account (DSA) General Fund (education). As of April 2016, the state had collected $229,000 in taxes with the excise tax at only 2 percent. My News 4 for reported 75% ($171,949.19) of the revenue has already went to the Schools Account. This outstanding amount has only accumulated since Medical Marijuana Dispensaries opened in July. I have a son in school, so I know first-hand how much Clark County schools could benefit from this revenue. Maybe it will mean an increase in teacher salaries or even initiatives provided to prospective teachers? Currently Nevada ranks number three in the nation for highest high school dropout rate and ranks last with graduating African Americans.
The initiative also outlines how, based on population, many retail store licenses will be made available to the state of Nevada and continues to detail what happens with the current medical marijuana business licenses. Current licensees will have 12 months to submit applications and the state has 90 days to execute each application beginning at the licensee’s submission date.
Lastly, I’d like to go on record saying, “I will be voting yes on question 2!” I am a registered voter in the state of Nevada and I wholeheartedly support the decriminalization of marijuana. Also, I encourage all of my fellow African-American entrepreneurs to go to the Nevada State Website and begin your application. Start looking for a place of business and get your investors/partners together. Get ahead of the opportunity, not behind it. If you can’t afford to start a marijuana business, there are many marijuana support business opportunities, for example: bookkeeping, human resources, cleaning, disposal, anything! We cannot be left behind!
For More information visit : Yes on Measure 2
Picture courtesy of Regulate Marijuana Facebook Page.