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NAACP jumps into Nevada marijuana debate
    #763336 - 12/25/14 11:52 PM (3 years, 3 months ago)

Jeffery Blanck, the president of the Reno-Sparks chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, has jumped into the legislative debate over the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada.

Blanck has sent a letter to all legislators, urging them to legalize recreational use of marijuana during the 2015 Legislature.

Nevada lawmakers have the first 40 days of the 2015 Legislature to legalize recreational use. If that doesn't happen, the measure will be placed on the 2016 general-election ballot, since the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association has already collected enough signatures on a petition to do that.

In his letter, Blanck noted that the federal government has wasted millions of dollars on its "war on drugs." And when it comes to marijuana, that war in Nevada has been waged more against black citizens than white citizens.

"The use of marijuana by blacks and whites is approximately the same," Blanck wrote in his letter to lawmakers. "Yet, if you are black and live in Nevada, you are four-and-a-half times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than if you are white.

"This is the 11th-worst disparity in arrest rates for marijuana possession in the country," Blanck wrote. "This is nothing to be proud of, seeing how we have historically been referred to as the 'Mississippi of the West.' "

Blanck told lawmakers that prisons populations have sky-rocketed because of drug possession laws and that the current system of punishment for low-level drugs crimes disproportionally hits blacks harder than whites.

"It is time to end the failed war on marijuana," Blanck wrote. "Nevada needs to legalize its use and our federal government needs to repeal its listing as a dangerous drug. We need to stop wasting our hard-earned tax dollars on a program that provides no benefit and disproportionately impacts our black residents."

NOT EVERYONE AGREES with Blanck. Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick, who is set to retire on Jan. 4, continues to see any form of legal marijuana – medical or recreational – as a bad thing.

Noting that Nevada just set up its system for medical marijuana less than two years ago, I asked Gammick on the Nevada Newsmakers TV program recently what he thinks of the rush to legalize recreational marijuana in Nevada as well.

Gammick was asked if it would be better for Nevada to wait on the legalization of recreational marijuana, and see how issues surrounding recreational marijuana are handled in Colorado and Washington.

Those states have already legalized pot for adult recreational consumption and Nevada could, perhaps, learn of lot from how those states handle various issues -- such as marijuana DUIs and drug testing for employment purposes.

Gammick replied: "I have in my office a 150-page report out of the Office of Justice on Colorado and all of the issues they are dealing with," Gammick said. "They are having children OD (overdose) on this stuff. They are having children steal it from their grandparents and they're taking it to school and selling it. They are having all kinds of problems, not to include all the robberies and all of the other stuff going on."

Gammick continues to oppose legal marijuana of any kind.

"As far as I'm concerned, let's never do it (legalize it) because it is a dangerous drug," he said. "But you can't seem to get that across. Everybody seems to want to toke – not everybody – but there are enough people who want to toke up and sit around and be blown out of their brains…I keep asking folks, do you want that to be your pilot in an airplane?"

FAIR TO FIORE: Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, was the butt of a remark made by Mary Lau, the president and CEO of the Retail Association of Nevada, on a recent Nevada Newsmakers show.

Lau mentioned Fiore's statement that Fiore had been busy in Carson City, rolling up her sleeves and pouring through the 6,000-page state budget.

"Somebody needs to tell Michele Fiore, by the way, what she is reading," Lau retorted. "She is saying she is busy reading the budget. But the budget ain't out yet, girlfriend."

Yes, Gov. Brian Sandoval is expected to follow tradition and release his proposed state budget on Jan. 15, the same day he gives his state-of-the-state speech.

Fiore didn't return a request for comment. Yet after Lau's quote was published, Victor Joecks of the conservative Nevada Policy Research Institute came to Fiore's defense.

Joecks noted on Twitter that Fiore must have been referring to the "state agency request budget," which has more than 6,000 pages and has been out for two months.

Well, OK then.


Signature this, ho.

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