<p>Tony Newman, 646-335-5384, [email protected]</p>
Nevada has joined California and Massachusetts by legalizing marijuana today. Florida, Arkansas, and North Dakota also approved medical marijuana. Votes are still being counted for a medical marijuana measure in Montana and a legalization initiative in Maine.
“It’s great to see that the power and money of Sheldon Adelson were not sufficient to dissuade Nevadans from doing the right thing,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
Nevada’s Question 2 allows adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and those who do not live within 25 miles of a retail marijuana store may grow up to six plants in their home. The initiative instructs the Nevada Department of Taxation to oversee the licensing of marijuana retail stores, as well as cultivation, manufacturing, and testing facilities. It also establishes a 15% excise tax on marijuana sales used to fund schools, and the marijuana regulatory structure. The Drug Policy Alliance and its lobbying arm, Drug Policy Action, supported Nevada’s initiative with assistance on the drafting, as well as financial support for the campaign.
By shifting away from counterproductive marijuana arrests and focusing instead on public health, states that have legalized marijuana are diminishing many of the worst harms of the war on drugs, while managing to raise substantial new revenues. A recentDrug Policy Alliance report found that Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon have benefitted from a dramatic decrease in marijuana arrests and convictions, as well as increased tax revenues, since the adult possession of marijuana became legal. At the same time, these states did not experience increases in youth marijuana use or traffic fatalities.
A nationwide Gallup poll released last month found that a record 60 percent of respondents support legalizing marijuana. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two U.S. states – and the first two jurisdictions in the world – to approve ending marijuana prohibition and legally regulating marijuana production, distribution and sales. In the 2014 election, Alaska and Oregon followed suit, while Washington D.C. passed a more limited measure that legalized possession and home cultivation of marijuana (but did not address its taxation and sale due to a federal law passed by Congress in 2014 that bars D.C. from pursuing taxation and regulation).
DPA will hold a teleconference tomorrow (Wednesday) at 12:30pm ET to discuss the national implications of today’s votes.