Close Call on Recreational Pot in Nevada

     RENO, Nev. (CN) — It’s an even bet whether Nevada voters will legalize recreational marijuana on Election Day, a poll shows, with a 47-to-46 percent tilt toward Yes, well within the poll’s margin of error.
     The poll of 800 likely voters commissioned by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and conducted on Sept. 27-29 showed 7 percent of voters undecided on Question 2 on the ballot, with a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
     If approved, the ballot initiative would allow anyone 21 years old or older to buy and possess up to an ounce of marijuana — but not concentrated marijuana — from licensed shops. They could cultivate up to six plants for personal use if they do not live within 25 miles of a marijuana store.
     Marijuana stores would have to pay licensing, and a 15 percent sales tax on wholesalers and commercial cultivators.
     Taxes and licensing fees would go to the state Department of Taxation and local governments to cover costs of regulation and enforcement, with any remaining revenue sent in the state’s distributive account for public schools.
     Nevada already has licensed dispensaries and cultivation facilities for medical marijuana.
     The major opponent of recreational use, a committee called Protecting Nevada’s Children, has focused its message on the dangers of edible marijuana.
     “Our children could easily confuse dangerous drug candy and pot-laced edibles like brownies for candy and treats,” the organization says on its website.
     In response, Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which backs the measure, created a billboard message: “Please, card my son. Regulate marijuana and help me keep it out of his hands.”
     Gov. Brian Sandoval and several other top state officials oppose Question 2.
     “Proponents of this measure claim it will help education; it will not,” Sandoval said in a statement. “What it will do is create health and safety problems that Nevada cannot afford.”
     The Nevada Resort Association, representing the casino industry, and the Nevada Medical Association also oppose Question 2.
     Proponents have received endorsements from Democratic legislators and organized labor groups, including the state’s largest, Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which has about 57,000 members.
     State Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford, a Las Vegas Democrat, is among the supporters. “I believe that a legal, regulated recreational marijuana market will help eliminate a significant portion of the criminal drug trade while providing significant new tax revenue to our state,” Ford said in a statement.

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