Federal drug czar John Walters has attacked a proposal to make Nevada the first state to legalize marijuana possession. In Las Vegas yesterday, Walter said legalizing marijuana is “not an area for legitimate debate,” reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He said people are killing each other by driving under the influence of the drug: “Legalizing any marijuana possession for consumption is fundamentally detrimental.”
The Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana, set up by the national Marijuana Policy Project, is advocating the ballot measure. Bruce Mirken, a spokesman for the project, said that people seeking treatment for marijuana addiction were forced into it. “They were arrested for possession and offered treatment or jail,” he said. “It’s Orwellian to the point of being creepy, and it’s misleading to the public.”
A 2002 campaign qualified a petition with 110,000 signatures seeking to legalize possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana, but it lost 61-39 percent. The new proposal calls for legalizing possession of 1 ounce of marijuana and would increase penalties for vehicular manslaughter and delivery of marijuana to a minor. If the initiative qualifies for the November ballot and passes, it would have to pass again in 2006 to become part of the constitution.
Jennifer Knight of the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana, said that Walters “keeps supporting current marijuana laws that don’t work. Now, he is coming here to Nevada to tell us how to vote on a state initiative while ignoring his own report that shows that 67 percent of teens in Nevada have tried marijuana. Where is his solution?”
Walters said that the Drug Enforcement Administration is trying to halt domestic production of marijuana and that he is working with Mexico to stem the flow of opium, poppies, and marijuana into the U.S., and with Canada, where more potent marijuana is being grown.