Drug Czar Says Question 7 Work of Rich Outsiders

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Nevada -- Question 7 on this year's general election ballot has caught the attention of many organizations within Nevada, as well as that of the U. S. Drug Czar's Office. Recently, Deputy Drug Czar Tom Burns visited Pahrump as a guest of the Nye Communities Coalition to discuss the matter.
The question is an initiative petition to decriminalize the use of marijuana for anyone over 21 and to allow its purchase through a regulated market. Tax revenues from sales would be dedicated mainly to alcohol and drug treatment and education programs.

Officer Todd Raybuck, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, gave an introductory speech in which he claimed that the initiative for getting Question 7 on the ballot did not stem from any action by Nevadans but rather was the work of three billionaires who don't live in Nevada.

Burns emphasized that these individuals, George Soros, Investment Funds, Peter B. Lewis, founder and CEO of Progressive Insurance, and John Sperling, founder of the for-profit University of Phoenix, are philanthropists who picked the legalization of marijuana as their pet project.

"These men have tried getting this initiative passed in virtually every state in the union. This year Nevada is ground zero," Burns said.

Nevada law makes possession of one ounce (the equivalent of up to 95 joints) or less of marijuana a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $600, or less than the fine for driving without a license. Only 3 percent of the 155,000 arrests statewide in 2005 were for marijuana possession. In at least a third of those arrests, the offender was merely given a ticket and released.

"Testing has revealed that the potency of marijuana has been increasing in recent years. It has also been shown that the new marijuana rewires the brains of individuals, causing a greater substance dependency," said Burns. He added that should the initiative be passed, it would still be illegal to use or distribute marijuana at the federal level. He also said there are not enough enforcement personnel to handle all the cases that would occur.

Burns also said the expense and time involved in such instances would tie up the courts for years, mainly due to state's rights issues, which would cost Nevadans exorbitant amounts of money.

He noted that since Nevada is considered the state where virtually anything goes, through decriminalization it could become the "drug capital of America."

This, he said, would open Nevada up to a multitude of costs related to the treatment of substance abuse and injuries resulting in disability and death.

Research indicates that only 18-22 percent of school children use marijuana. Greater numbers use alcohol and tobacco, said Burns, but those numbers could rise if marijuana use is legalized.

Sheriff Tony Demeo said, "I don't see that much advertising on this issue. I also don't see that many efforts from opponents to educate the public. Then, when it's closer to election time, people will not be educated."

Lloyd Platson, a member of the Nye Communities Coalition, advised, "There are education efforts being made throughout the state through the collaboration of 13 statewide coalitions. These efforts are ongoing."

The coalition works to educate adults and children on the negative impact of drugs and the debilitating affects of drug dependency.

Complete Title: Deputy Drug Czar Says Question 7 is The Work of Rich Outsiders

Source: Pahrump Valley Times (NV)
Author: Mary Baldasano, Special To The PVT
Published: October 4, 2006
Copyright: 2006 Pahrump Valley Times
 

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