Signature Drive: Group Launches Marijuana Petition

Signature Drive: Group Launches Marijuana Petition
Posted by CN Staff on May 11, 2002 at 07:35:16 PT
By Ed Vogel, Review-Journal Capital Bureau
Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal 
A group called Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement wants to amend the state constitution to prevent police from arresting people who have 3 ounces or less of marijuana. The organization informed the secretary of state's office Friday that it will begin circulating petitions to change the state constitution. The petition drive comes less than eight months after a new law went into effect that makes possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a misdemeanor subject to a fine of no more than $600. 
Previously, Nevada law made possession of any amount of marijuana a felony, although generally the offense was reduced if the offender agreed to attend anti-drug classes. Possession of more than 1 ounce of marijuana remains a felony. Gail Tuzzolo, the leader of Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement, said the goal of the petition drive is to ensure low-cost marijuana is available for people who have state permission to use the drug for medical reasons. "It is a long shot," said Tuzzolo, who lobbied for the Nevada State Education Association at the 2001 Legislature. "This is a grass-roots project. We have a very short time frame to collect signatures. Getting signatures in Nevada is not easy." To qualify for a spot on the November ballot, the petition organizers need to acquire the signatures of 61,336 registered voters by Aug. 7. While the petition organizers want to help people who use medical marijuana, Tuzzolo said you cannot write a petition specific to one group of people that could pass constitutional muster. Therefore, the plan to block police from making arrests would apply to anyone with 3 ounces or less of marijuana. "The way it is written would prevent anyone with under 3 ounces from being arrested," Tuzzolo said. Tuzzolo is a consultant to the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project Group that is concerned that people with health problems are not getting the marijuana they need. State law permits approved patients to grow up to seven marijuana plants, but not possess more than 1 ounce of the drug at a time. They are not permitted to buy marijuana under the law. The Washington group will pay for people to collect signatures on petitions, Tuzzolo said. "I am not sure how much there is to spend," she said. "They will have to spend $50,000 anyway to recruit and get people trained." Since the group wants to change the state constitution, voters must approve the plan at both the 2002 and 2004 general elections. Las Vegas police spokesman Tirso Dominguez said it is left up to the officer in the field to arrest or cite people who possess any amount of marijuana. "You are still committing a crime whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony," he said. "There is nothing that says you automatically have to be arrested." Dominguez added that domestic violence is the only crime for which police must make arrests.Note: Effort would prevent arrests in cases involving up to 3 ounces. Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV)Author: Ed Vogel, Review-Journal Capital BureauPublished: Saturday, May 11, 2002Copyright: 2002 Las Vegas Review-JournalContact: letters lvrj.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Marijuana Policy Project State Law Eases Penalties on Marijuana Program Draws Steady Stream Of Calls
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment