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Drug Czar To Lobby in Nevada

Discussion in 'Marijuana News from The USA' started by Superjoint, Sep 18, 2002.

  1. By Steve Tetreault, Stephens Washington Bureau
    Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

    The nation's drug czar plans to boost his fight against Question 9, the Nevada ballot initiative that would legalize possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana.
    John Walters, chief of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, plans to visit drug treatment centers and meet with law enforcers and newspaper editorial boards during a trip to Las Vegas and Reno scheduled Oct. 9-10, spokeswoman Jennifer deVallance said Tuesday.

    At a news conference, Walters said he spoke in Las Vegas this summer against marijuana, "and I'm going back again."

    "I am going into every state that has a ballot initiative and working with people in community coalitions," Walters said.

    Besides Nevada, states where voters face marijuana-related ballot questions include Arizona, Ohio and South Dakota, the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project reports.

    In Nevada, Question 9 asks whether the state should legalize possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana, enough to roll about 100 joints.

    People older than 21 would be allowed to smoke in their homes but not in public places. Marijuana would be sold in state-licensed stores and taxed like tobacco.

    Voters must approve the initiative in November and again in 2004 before it can be made part of the state constitution.

    Walters disclosed his travel plans as he announced a national media campaign this fall by his office and 17 education and public health organizations to discourage young people from smoking marijuana.

    The campaign will include newspaper advertisements running in big markets, television and radio spots and an effort to reach youngsters through the Internet.

    Government drug policy officials said the ads, produced for national media use, will not focus special attention on Nevada. A spot ran this week during Monday night's NFL game.

    "This is a national youth anti-drug media campaign. We don't heap up in states where there are ballot issues," said Tom Riley, a Walters aide.

    Walters urged parents against trivializing for their children the dangers of marijuana, and he said the drug is more potent today than what mom and dad may have smoked in their youth.

    More teens enter rehabilitation to treat marijuana addiction than alcohol or all other illegal drugs combined, he said.

    "Our effort is to correct the ignorance that is the single biggest obstacle to protecting our kids," he said.

    Krissy Oechslin, Marijuana Policy Project assistant director of communications, questioned the effectiveness of government ad drives, some of which she said employ "scare tactics and distortions of the truth."

    "There are still record numbers of kids that use marijuana and other drugs," Oechslin said. "They've been doing this over and over and over, and it doesn't work. Maybe it's time to try a different campaign."

    Riley said drug use over the long term has declined because public awareness.

    "Drug use is half of what it was in the 1980s," he said.

    A study issued last month by the Office of National Drug Control Policy reported first-time marijuana use among Nevada youth ages 12 to 17 is among the highest in the nation.

    The state tied with Hawaii for seventh among the 50 states, with 7.63 percent of adolescents trying marijuana for the first time in 1999 and 2000, the report said.

    Note: Federal official plans battle against marijuana ballot initiative.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV)
    Author: Steve Tetreault, Stephens Washington Bureau
    Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 Las Vegas Review-Journal
    Contact: letters@lvrj.com
    Website: http://www.lvrj.com/

    Related Articles & Web Sites:

    NRLE
    http://www.nrle.org/

    Marijuana Policy Project
    http://www.mpp.org/
     

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