Date: Thu, 29 Aug 2002 17:48:43 -0700
From: ("LVNORML")
Subject: DAs will question legality of ballot's marijuana question

Today: August 29, 2002 at 9:26:55 PDT=20

DAs will question legality of ballot's marijuana question By Ed Koch=20 <> LAS VEGAS SUN=20

Washoe County Distict Attorney Dick Gammick says he is considering = challenging the legality of the marijuana initiative as it will be = printed on the November ballot.=20

Clark County District Attorney Stewart Bell agrees with Gammick that the = Legislature cannot, as Question 9 is written, "provide a system of = regulation for the cultivation, taxation, sale and distribution of = marijuana" without breaking federal laws.=20

However, both say nothing can be done until after the first of two = potential votes is taken in November that could legalize possession of = small amounts of marijuana, because the ballot has to go to the printer = by Sept. 10.=20

The language for Question 9, complete with an explanation and brief = arguments for and against the measure, was released Tuesday by the = secretary of state's office. In the arguments against passage section, = marijuana is called a "gateway" drug that can lead to cocaine and heroin = use.=20

"I suspect that either Mr. Gammick, my successor or someone else will = ask for an opinion from the Nevada attorney general after the election, = and I believe the attorney general would opine that the Legislature = could not set up a process for cultivation or sale as federal law now = stands," Bell said.=20

"Of course, if the measure fails in November, the question becomes = moot."=20

Gammick called the question "hip shoot legislation" as it is worded.=20

"I don't think the question is legal," Gammick said. "If the state tries = to set up something (for cultivation or sale), federal authorities have = said they will stop it because it is a violation of federal law."=20

Billy Rogers, spokesman for Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement, = the chief proponent for the measure that was placed on the ballot by the = Washington-based Marijuana Policy Project, says there is plenty of time = to change federal as well as local laws.=20

"There is nothing on the books where the federal government has ever = shut down a state or local government-run facility that produces or = sells marijuana -- only some private businesses in California," Rogers = said.=20

"There is an initiative on the ballot in San Francisco that would allow = the city to grow and sell marijuana. And there are 2 1/2 years before = the law in Nevada will go into effect. Federal laws can change between = now and then to allow the state of Nevada to produce, tax and sell = marijuana."=20

The question must be approved in November and again in 2004 to become = law.=20

Rogers called Secretary of State Dean Heller's language in the question = and accompanying explanation fair and balanced.=20

The question and accompanying documentation are posted on the secretary = of state's website (

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