Nevada voters will have the chance to determine whether the state will be the next to legalize recreational cannabis during the next Presidential election.
Earlier last week, the state legislature put the fate of a proposal aimed at legalizing marijuana in the hands of the people after failing to address the issue during the latest session. Lawmakers were given until the weekend to either approve or deny Initiative Petition No 1, but opted to clock out Friday evening without taking up a vote on the measure, automatically adding it to the ballot in 2016.
“Voters will have the opportunity to end marijuana prohibition next year and replace it with a policy that actually makes sense,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a recent statement. “Regulating marijuana like alcohol will make Nevada safer by replacing the underground marijuana market with a tightly controlled system of licensed businesses.”
The Nevada initiative would legalize retail pot sales in a manner similar to what is currently underway in Colorado and Washington. The market, of course, would be tightly regulated by the Nevada Department of Taxation, which would oversee nearly every aspect of the trade from cultivation to distribution. A 15% excise tax would be attached to all cannabis products, with tax revenue going to fund public education across the state.
“The initiative will create a significant new source of funding for Nevada schools,” said Tvert. “Marijuana sales that are currently taking place in the underground market are generating revenue for cartels. In a regulated market, marijuana sales will generate revenue for students.”
The Marijuana Policy Project is spearheading this effort, which is good indicator the measure stands a fighting chance at winning approval. The MPP has successfully assisted several other states, including Colorado and Alaska, in legalizing the leaf for recreational purposes.
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