DEA Boss Says Measure Will Attract Wrong Element

DEA Boss Says Measure Will Attract Wrong Element
Posted by CN Staff on July 12, 2002 at 11:19:55 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: Las Vegas Sun 
The head of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration warns a ballot measure that would legalize small amounts of marijuana in Nevada would attract the wrong element to the state heavily dependent on tourism. "What kind of tourism will Nevada attract?" DEA Director Asa Hutchinson asked after a speech in Reno Thursday urging a crack down on methamphetamine labs. 
Legalizing possession of up to 3 ounces of pot would encourage teens to experiment with the drug and "encourage Nevadans to engage in behavior that would violate federal law," he said. "That would leave Nevada with one of the most liberal policies on drugs," he told the Reno Gazette-Journal. Backers of the Nevada measure, organized as Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement, collected well over the 60,000 signatures necessary to get it on the ballot in November. They argue it is a waste of taxpayer dollars to prosecute minor pot offenders. Hutchinson said the initiative is the work of a national group that wants to see marijuana completely legalized not a grassroots effort of Nevadans. Until last year, Nevada had the strictest marijuana law in the nation. Puffing on a single marijuana cigarette was a felony offense punishable by a prison term of a year or more. Under the new proposal, marijuana would be taxed like cigarettes and other tobacco products, and sold only in state-licensed shops. It still would be illegal to use marijuana in public. It also would be illegal to drive under the influence of the drug, for minors to possess it and for private individuals to sell it. Hutchinson said although he opposes Nevadas marijuana initiative, his office won't campaign against it. But if opposition forms against the ballot measure, Hutchinson said his office would be willing to help by providing information. Hutchinson said some mistakenly believe that marijuana is not harmful. But more teen-agers seek treatment for marijuana abuse than for any other drug, including alcohol, he said. He called for more drug testing in the workplace, and employee assistance programs for workers found to be using drugs. About 75 percent of drug users are employed, he said. Complete Title: DEA Boss Says Nevada's Pot Measure Will Attract Wrong ElementSource: Las Vegas Sun (NV)Published: July 12, 2002Copyright: 2002 Las Vegas Sun, Inc.Contact: letters lasvegassun.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Marijuana Policy Project Director Criticizes Marijuana Ballot Measure Proposal To Be On Ballot Marijuana Vote Denounced by U.S. Aide
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