Hoping to build on consecutive electoral victories, advocates say they have secured the first state marijuana legalization ballot measure for 2016.
Nevada state lawmakers had until Saturday to take action on the ballot measure, which would legalize marijuana for recreational use, but adjourned on Friday without voting on it, the Marijuana Policy Project notes in a statement. As a result, the initiative, for which the group collected nearly twice the necessary signatures, is destined for the 2016 ballot, they say.
“Voters will have the opportunity to end marijuana prohibition next year and replace it with a policy that actually makes sense,” Mason Tvert, communications director for the group, said in a statement.
The group was behind the successful legalization ballot measures in Colorado in 2012 and Alaska in 2014. Other groups helped successfully pass legalization in Washington in 2012 and Oregon in 2014. Those four state laws were approved by voters, but MPP is now targeting both ballots and legislatures to spread similar measures.
In addition to Nevada, the group plans to pursue ballot measures in Arizona, California, Maine, and Massachusetts. It also working to pass measures in the state legislatures of Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and others by 2017.
In an interview Friday morning, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) would not comment on whether he supports or opposes the measure, but did note hearing stories of police chiefs complaining of the consequences of legalization.
The Nevada measure would legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older. The state Department of Taxation would be charged with overseeing a regulated and licensed industry, with a 15 percent excise tax imposed on wholesale marijuana sales. Revenue from the tax will fund K-12 education.