News Column

Nevada to Try Legalizing Marijuana

March 15, 2013

Anjeanette Damon, Las Vegas Sun

Nevada Assemblyman Joe Hogan, D-Las Vegas, said his measure to legalize marijuana possession will be introduced in the Assembly on Friday, making Nevada the sixth state to consider decriminalizing pot.

"We've wasted a tremendous amount of money spoiling teen-agers lives, chasing them around until we can arrest them for something," Hogan said. "And marijuana is not just a harmless plant. The medical benefits are remarkable."

Hogan, a retired naval officer and Department of Defense employee, said he does not smoke pot.

"Maybe 45 years ago someone gifted me a few puffs, but I have not been a user at all," Hogan said.

Rather, he is more concerned with the societal benefits of legalizing marijuana, he said.

Hogan is working with a Las Vegas doctor who has been pushing the issue. Dr. Stephen Frye, who calls himself Dr. Pot, has been pushing marijuana legalization.

Voters in two states, Colorado and Washington, decriminalized marijuana possession in November. Lawmakers in Oregon, Hawaii and New Mexico are considering pot legalization measures.

Nevada already allows for medical marijuana use. But patients who have a medical marijuana card have no legal way to obtain it. Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, has sponsored legislation to create a dispensary system in Nevada.

Segerblom said Thursday he is not cosponsoring Hogan's measure.

"I'm sticking to medical marijuana," he said.

Hogan said Assemblymen Andrew Martin and Paul Aizley are cosponsoring the measure. He's also hoping for some Republican support.

"I'm really hopeful" it will pass, Hogan said. "It would benefit a lot of people."

Andrew Doughman contributed to this story.

Source: (c)2013 the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, Nev.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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