It’s an important step forward in fixing a failed policy. Taxpayers finally seem to understand that spending vast sums of money at the local, state and federal levels on police, prosecutors, public defenders, judges and jails to lock up nonviolent offenders and enable the enrichment of gangs and thugs has done nothing to diminish demand for marijuana. The banned substance remains everywhere — at schools and streetcorners, in public housing and affluent suburbs. [...]
If you are presented with the petition, and you’re a registered voter, sign it.
Because of the rules governing Nevada’s initiative process the issue won’t make it on the ballot until at least 2016. The campaign needs to collect enough signatures this year so it can go before the state legislature in 2015. The legislature has the right to act first. Initiatives in Nevada only go before voters if they aren’t approved by the legislature.
Because of its unusual rules Nevada is the first state circulating a legalization petition for the 2016 ballot but it won’t be the last. Legalization could easily be on the ballot in roughly half a dozen states during the next Presidential election.
Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy
Photo by Mike Herbst under Creative Commons license