Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Nevada to vote on legalizing marijuana

Prostitution and gambling are already two well-known staples of the reputation of Nevada. Now a third player, the use of recreational marijuana, may join in the mix.

Nevada, one of the strictest states on drug-related crimes, now may become the most lenient. Currently, puffing on a single joint in Nevada could land you a felony conviction and a year in jail. However, this measure has rarely been taken.

Those measures began to relax in 2000 when the state legalized the medicinal use of marijuana. In addition to that, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is only a misdemeanor.

Now, the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project has collected 109,000 Nevada voters on a petition seeking to legalize the possession of marijuana under three ounces. The proposition will be sent to Nevada voters in November.

The legal use of marijuana would be similar to that of alcohol, but with some added restrictions.

Smoking would be prohibited in public places and cars. Marijuana would be sold in state-licensed stores to those over the age of 21.

The possible legalization of marijuana throughout the state poses some questions for Nevada universities. Officials from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas said the topic has not been debated on campus.

“It hasn’t been a discussion on campus at this point,” said Tom Flagg, Director of Media Relations. “It’s far enough down the road that even if they took action on this legislative session, it would have to go up again in a year. It’s just not an issue we’ve addressed at this point.”

Steve Sisolak, a regent member for the University and Community College System of Nevada and a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee alumnus, echoed Flagg’s response and added most students wouldn’t be of legal age to smoke.

“We haven’t talked about it all. The university hasn’t taken a standard position on it,” Sisolak said. “My understanding is that the only place it would be legal is a private home and you would have to be 21 as well. A lot of those students would not qualify, especially the dorm students. There is no plan to legalize it on campus if it became legal.”

Regent member Douglas Hill said the use of marijuana on campus or anywhere in the state violates federal law and the university will not violate any federal conditions.

“You’ve got the federal issue,” Hill said. “The feds the other day busted a marijuana producing facility in California for medicinal use. I think they arrested one person, and they were trying to make an issue out of this. It may be legal according to state law, but it’s still illegal according to federal law. It’s not going to affect the university in any way because it’s still going to be in violation of federal law. We’re going to comply with federal law.”

Many similar movements around the country follow the movement in Nevada. One such movement, taking place in Michigan, recently failed.

The Michigan Marijuana Movement recently tried to obtain the number of signatures needed for their cause to reach ballot.

“We’ve been trying to pass one here in Michigan that is very similar,” said George Sherfield, director of the MMM. “Grow your own three ounces and plants for medical marijuana. Our problem is that we don’t have enough people to get the signatures. There are enough people to succeed, but we’ve run out of funds for another campaign.”

Sherfield said the government would save millions of dollars if they legalized marijuana to three ounces.

He also said it would spare hardships endured by children whose parents would be locked away for “petty” drug-related offenses such as growing plants.

“I don’t know if it will save the government money,” Sherfield said. “It all depends on the law. If they change over from jail time to treatment for drugs, they probably won’t save a lot of money.”

Sherfield noted a situation in Michigan where a four-day standoff ended tragically in the death of two pro-marijuana advocates.

“On the other side of the coin, kids won’t be losing their fathers and mothers over growing plants,” Sherfield said. “I know people who have lost their lives because they grew 12 plants. The people from Rainbow Farms — it was kind of a Waco standoff.”

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