“Should the 2002 ballot question be approved, decriminalizing the possession by an adult of three ounces or less of marijuana?”
NO ON QUESTION 9
By: Richard A. Gammick
As a Schedule I Controlled Substance, marijuana is classified by both the federal and state governments as one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs. The United States Supreme Court and Congress have found that it does NOT have any medicinal use and the Food and Drug Administration has never approved its use. Reference by the proponents to “medical marijuana” is misleading and does nothing but confuse the purpose of Question 9. This is an initiative to “decriminalize” (legalize possession of) three ounces of marijuana, enough to make from 90 to 120 cigarettes or “joints”.
What’s the big deal? Just getting a little buzz and the munchies. WRONG. Marijuana is addictive and can grossly impair a person’s motor skills and judgment. Marijuana is a gateway drug to other harder drugs, through a desire to get a bigger kick or peer pressure or availability in the drug culture or any other number of excuses. As an example, let’s look at David who started smoking marijuana when he was 12 years old. At the age of 15, while under the influence of drugs, David helped another young man beat and rob two doctors with a baseball bat, almost killing one doctor. David turned 17 in jail awaiting trial and was recently sentenced to a prison term of up to 40 years. This scenario is repeated in Nevada hundreds of time a year.
If the answer is legalization, why not legalize all crimes? That would be wrong – just as legalizing marijuana or any other dangerous drug is wrong. What is the message legalizing marijuana would send the young people of this state? Do we want to amend the Nevada Constitution to allow dope smokers to smoke their dope and give this “right” the same status as our right to vote and freedom of speech? There is also the issue of this initiative being in violation of federal law. Why are people in Washington D.C. and other parts of this country so interested in legalizing this dangerous, highly addictive drug in our state? Too many questions; no answers.
VOTE NO ON QUESTION 9.
YES ON QUESTION 9
By: Chris Giunchigliani
Question 9 will make Nevada a safer place to live. By doing away with the criminal underground market for marijuana and replacing it with a regulated, controlled system, Question 9 will allow police to focus resources on murderers, rapists and other violent criminals, as well as on the minority of marijuana users who behave irresponsibly. Question 9 will also make it easier to keep marijuana out of the hands of teens.
According to government surveys, about one-third of U.S. adults have used marijuana, and about 9 percent have smoked marijuana in the last year. That’s millions of people, the vast majority of whom are responsible and otherwise law-abiding. In 2001, according to the Nevada Department of Public Safety, police arrested over 4,500 Nevadans on marijuana charges. Responsible, adult marijuana users can be arrested even if they’ve never harmed anyone.
What have such policies accomplished? We spend millions of tax dollars arresting and prosecuting people who are no threat to anyone. Worse, according to a survey just released by Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, teenagers say marijuana is easier to buy than beer or cigarettes.
That’s no surprise. Walk into any liquor or convenience store and one of the first things you see is a great big sign saying, “We Card,” warning customers to be prepared to show identification. Have you ever heard of a drug dealer checking IDs, or refusing to sell to kids?
By forcing responsible marijuana users into the criminal underground, we’ve actually made it easier for kids to be introduced to drugs. Question 9 will replace this disastrous, wasteful system with strict controls on irresponsible behavior, like giving or selling marijuana to kids or driving dangerously while under the influence. Question 9 will make Nevada a safer, more prosperous place for residents, tourists and businesspeople alike.