Tax revenues would be earmarked for K-12 school education
CARSON CITY, NV — A bill that would legalize marijuana for adults 21 or older in Nevada was introduced Monday to the Nevada Assembly and assigned to the Committee on Judiciary.
Assembly Bill 402, introduced Monday by Assemblyman Joe Hogan (D-Las Vegas), would allow adults 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational use and up to six marijuana plants. A skeletal framework or regulated retail sales is also outlined in the bill.
“I think it’s better than chasing young kids around the neighborhoods, endlessly, and damaging them,” Hogan said. “We’ve been wasting terrible amounts of money on these completely unsuccessful law enforcement techniques. I think it’s time to get serious, get it fixed and move on.”
Hogan said that marijuana legalization would raise badly needed money for the state’s education system. It envisions excise taxes on both wholesale and retail sales of marijuana and marijuana products.
“There’s enough tax money in this line of products to properly and fully support education in the state of Nevada, which we have failed to do for a number of years,” Hogan said.
The bill establishes a 25% excise tax on both the wholesale and retail sale of marijuana and marijuana products, which would be deposited into the State Distributive School Account, which funds K-12 education.
The bill is the brainchild of Dr. Steven Frye, a retired Las Vegas psychiatrist and marijuana legalization activist. Dr. Frye estimates $500 million could be generated for education from legalized cannabis sales.
“It’s a big tourist issue,” he said. “And we create green jobs in Nevada growing, processing and selling it.”
Nevada’s sales tax would also be charged on retail marijuana sales.
It would still be illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, and employers would not be required to allow or accommodate the use of marijuana. It would remain a crime to provide marijuana to minors under 21 years of age.
Nevada already allows the use of medical marijuana, although the 12-year old program has been criticized by medical marijuana patients and lawmakers alike because the law does not currently provide access to marijuana for patients.
When sixty-five percent of voters approved Question 9 on November 7, 2000, there was no provision in the bill authorizing medical marijuana dispensaries. Patients or their caregivers are allowed to grow up to seven plants and possess up to an ounce of marijuana.
But because obtaining marijuana seeds is illegal, as well as difficult growing conditions in the Nevada desert, patients and lawmakers alike agree that access to medical marijuana is limited for the states 3,645 registered cardholders.
People with medical marijuana authorization in Nevada are stuck in a legal grey area, they say, and many are confused as to whether they have purchased marijuana illegally.
Last year, a Las Vegas district court judge declared Nevada’s medical marijuana law unconstitutional, while criticizing the state’s lack of a defined distribution system for the medicine.
A bill has been introduced to the Senate that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries.
Last November, voters in Colorado and Washington State approved measures making marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and directing state regulatory bodies to create regulations for businesses to cultivate and sell marijuana to adults.
Since then, marijuana legalization bills have been filed in over a dozen states.