Families in Action
A Guide to Drug-Related State Ballot Initiatives
Nevada state ballot initiatives must be passed by voters in two consecutive elections and then taken to the legislature for final approval.
and 2000, legalization proponents successfully sponsored an initiative
to legalize marijuana as medicine. The initiative, Question 9, passed
both years, and the Nevada Legislature approved it. The legislature also
reduced penalties for possession of 1 ounce of marijuana from a felony
to a misdemeanor.
This initiative will legalize possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana for everyone over age 21. It requires the state to grow, tax, and distribute marijuana to retail stores for sale to the public. A Las Vegas police officer rolled 3 ounces of confiscated marijuana into cigarettes, or "joints", and established that 3 ounces makes 255 joints.
Proponents claim driving under the influence of marijuana will be illegal. However, no test exists to determine when a driver is under the influence of the drug.
Proponents also claim that advertising marijuana will be banned. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently held that commercial speech is protected by the First Amendment.
Proponents claim it will be illegal to sell marijuana to anyone under age 21. Once a drug is legalized, however, and available for sale in stores, it is virtually impossible to prevent underage sales and use. One in five Nevada teenagers drinks alcohol and one in six smokes cigarettes, even though both are illegal for teenagers to purchase and use.
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) of Washington D.C. contributed $575,000, while others contributed a total of $275 to date (August 2002). Press reports indicate that Peter Lewis gave MPP most if not all of the $575,000.
Qualified for the November 2002 ballot.
other states, Nevada ranks:
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