Editorial: Why Nevadans should vote to legalize marijuana

Recently supporters of Question 2 on the November ballot, which would legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana, released a study of the economic impact on the state should the initiative gain voter approval.

The analysis by RCG Economics of Las Vegas estimates the legal pot industry could add $464 million in tax revenue for the state over the next seven years, as well as create 3,300 direct jobs by 2024. Each direct job usually spins off three indirect jobs. The report also said roughly half of the recreational marijuana sales would likely be to tourists, possibly increasing that sector of the state’s economy.

But that is not why we support passage of Question 2, but rather because it is a matter of basic liberty.

The Lockean or libertarian principles upon which this nation was founded hold that individuals are free moral agents who have a right to be secure in their life, liberty, and property and to use those rights however they so choose so long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. Such rights are not granted by government but are inherent — or unalienable.

Excessive use of marijuana may well be harmful to its users, just the same as alcohol, tobacco and over eating. This does not represent a reason for government to ban it outright and imprison those who use it or engage in buying and selling it.

David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute and author of “Libertarianism: A Primer,” explains the concept thusly: “Libertarianism is not libertinism or hedonism. It is not a claim that ‘people can do anything they want to, and nobody else can say anything.’ Rather, libertarianism proposes a society of liberty under law, in which individuals are free to pursue their own lives so long as they respect the equal rights of others. The rule of law means that individuals are governed by generally applicable and spontaneously developed legal rules, not by arbitrary commands; and that those rules should protect the freedom of individuals to pursue happiness in their own ways, not aim at any particular result or outcome.”

Question 2 would impose a 15 percent excise tax on marijuana wholesale transactions and the normal sales tax on retail sales. This money would be allocated for education. The Nevada Department of Taxation would issue licenses to those in the marijuana business. Pot sales locations would be subject to local zoning laws and, like alcohol sales, would generally be prohibited near schools, childcare facilities or churches.

Opponents of the measure argue legalization will make it easier for the drug to fall into the hands of minors, but we suspect regulated retailers will make it more difficult, because scofflaw street vendors have no scruples about to whom they sell.

Actually, studies have found that teen marijuana use has fallen in recent years, even at a time when four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana and 23 others, like Nevada, allow it for medicinal purposes.

We do not advocate marijuana use any more than we advocate prostitution, which is legal in many rural Nevada counties, but rather come down on the side of decriminalization for consenting adults in a properly regulated setting.

It is insane that the fate of those who deign to use marijuana at some point in their lives is dictated by the near-random chance that some are arrested for its possession and spend the rest of their lives with a criminal conviction hanging over them, while others go on to become president.

Individuals should be allowed the freedom to live their lives as they so choose.

A version of this editorial appears this past week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Elko Daily Free Press


46 comments on “Editorial: Why Nevadans should vote to legalize marijuana

  1. Connie Foust says:

    I believe deeply that the value system of most Americans is so compromised they cannot tell right from wrong and they pull out that handy constitution to justify what if they looked into themselves honestly they would know is just plain wrong behavior. If one is to honestly check out how this has worked in Colorado in terms of humanity, they would see something very different than the big dollar signs from taxes that voting in favor of this bill will bring. Progressive governance loves to keep people stupid and smoking pot helps facilitate the goal. So toke up, get stupid and enjoy, there’s then nothing really to worry about.

  2. Patrick says:

    Talk about right wing psychobabble; “Progressive governance loves to keep people stupid”. And smoking pot facilitates that goal? According to whom I wonder?

    Oh that’s right, according to some people on the far right who work to ensure only the wealthy get educations, and who have become more anti-intellectual and anti-science as they years go by.


  3. Unlike the people on the left who work to assure that no one gets a quality education … witness the NV Supreme Court arguments Friday about ESAs.

  4. Patrick says:

    Working to ensure that a system of education, proven to work to educate an incredibly diverse population, for over 100 years, remains intact, seems like the “right” thing to do.

    Attempting to subvert this system, by draining it of it’s resources, so as to allow the wealthiest children to segregate themselves even further from the unwashed masses, is about the opposite.

  5. How can we get worse than worst in the nation?

  6. Patrick says:

    Started long ago when the right decided that they’d work to “drown the baby in the bathtub” and continue to do so all the while claiming that “the system” was failing.

    Like putting half the necessary fuel in an airplane, then blaming the pilot for crashing.

  7. Over the past four decades, Nevada has increased public school funding by 80 percent per pupil, adjusted for inflation, but test scores have actually fallen.

    Pilot error?

  8. Patrick says:

    How many students were there 40 years ago? What were the demographics of the students then vs now? How many Hispanic or non-English speakers then vs now? What was the inflation rates like for building, teaching salaries, and other inputs into school costs? What were the standards used then relative to what they are today to measure student achievement?

    Absolute numbers, without contest, is totally meaningless and has been used as a tool, by those opposed to their taxes being used to educate the unwashed masses for years.

    It’s beneath you though Thomas IMO.

  9. Always with the excuses. If I answered everyone of those questions, you’d come up with a dozen more.

  10. Steve says:

    A dozen per.

    Patrick is as one sided as they get.

  11. Patrick says:


    Reasons Thomas, are not excuses.

    Again, of a plane drops out of the sky because it didn’t have enough gas to make the trip, it’s a reason, not an excuse.

    The right is demanding that our public schools do something that they refuse to provide the funding to do, and they are blaming the system, rather than themselves, for that failure.

  12. Steve says:

    oooo, someone needs some ex-lax

  13. Connie Foust says:

    Patrick, the school system received a huge amount of funding from the last session. That is why the 1.3 billion gross receipts tax was passed. They have come up with new ways to piss it away with very little going towards the children and education. The state is sucked dry by ELL classes that should be banned. All this liberal crap is just that, crap. Liberals never have enough money to piss away.

  14. Nyp says:

    Today’s Second Amendment Moment: multiple shootings this morning in Austin, TX

  15. I respectfully disagree with this editorial…nothing good will come from the legalization of this drug. My question is…have you indulged in this drug or is this merely an exercise of libertariansm? Today’s marijuana hybrid strains are twenty to thirty times more potent than when I was an experimenter. The government will again be picking winners and losers (who gets to grow and sell and who doesn’t). There is no accurate way to ascertain the level of inebriation when someone is behind the wheel after smoking or ingesting this high powered cannibis. People on government assistance will be selling their food benefits to buy pot. And so on and so forth. In closing, the underground sales of pot will still exist…these hybrids grown by dispensaries are extremely expensive…so there will still be the cartels importing a cheaper product. And government will waste the money it brings in…as that is what government does best.

  16. Steve says:

    Patrick already twice ignored the fact that it took conservatives to find a way to increase money for education while liberals sat on their hands and moaned (lied) about conservatives blocking all their “efforts” to do the same twice before….

  17. Patrick says:

    According to the link I posted, from the Wall Street Journal, Nevada is 8th WORST, at funding public school education.

    For MOST of the last century plus, Nevada has been a “conservative” state (of late, there has been some shift away but the fat remains that the history of this state is one of being governed mostly by conservatives)

    Rather than fund public education they way MOST states have, this one decided to have taxes from businesses in the state make up a large part of the money that goes into public schools. Because there has only been one major employer in the state, with overwhelming lobbying power that has kept it’s take rates heinously low, this has meant any effort to increase education spending, by raising taxes on casinos, has been met with the most strenuous resistance from the group best positioned to fight these increases with predictable results; casinos won, schools lost, and our kids suffer.

    Because conservatives have mostly been in control, while this has happened, they are due most of the blame.

    Simple really.

  18. Since 1931 Dems have been in the majority of the Nevada Assembly for 36 out of 41 sessions.

    There have been 8 GOP governors and 7 Dems.

  19. Steve says:

    Don’t hand Patrick facts, he’s to involved with fantasy to acknowledge anything else.

  20. Patrick says:

    Democrats can be “conservatives”.

  21. Steve says:

    “southern strategy” defense…..


  22. Barbara says:

    I too take issue with this editorial. This country was not founded on “libertarian principles” or the concept that “individuals are free moral agents”.

    Rather, to quote the Declaration of Independence, “to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.”

    It has been said that In the Declaration we find the purpose of the American republic, and in the Constitution we find the frame that holds this purpose in place and provides structure.

    The Founders believed that every human being -regardless or race, gender, birth, national origin, or religion – is a creature of God and as such is endowed with a right to life, liberty, and property. These natural rights existed prior to any government, and therefore, government is not the source of these rights.

    While we rightly believe that the purpose of government is limited to securing our private rights, our rights to our property, to our conscience, to our liberty to speak and worship as we please, we must also not forget that in doing so, government and mankind are still subject to the higher laws of Nature and God.

    Alexander Hamilton wrote that the rights named in the Declaration and the Constitution “are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments,” but rather “they are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of divinity itself.”

    My problem with Libertarian political thought is that,in many instances,it fails to recognize the moral underpinnings of our Founding and civil society.

    I find no validity in the argument that legalizing pot is a matter of basic liberty. There are very real consequences to the civil society in approving (legalizing) the use of marijuana. I say let the experiment in Colorado play out a bit longer before we commit our state to the same laboratory. Putting this genie back in the bottle would, I suspect, be very difficult if not impossible.

  23. Connie Foust says:

    Correct Barbara, very few people on either side of the fence look to the founding of the Republic. Hence the entitlement society. I do want to add one more note for Patrick. The recently elected Assembly was Republican, but they type of Republican elected for the most part was the RINO variety in step with the Governor. Our Governor is not a conservative, in fact in my estimation he is a Democrat who ran as a Republican. The same goes for all of our Congressional leadership. They are not conservatives and if one checks their voting records it does not take much to see they are the mouth piece for crony capitalism and unions. Nevada is a mess politically.

  24. Barbara says:

    I guess we can excuse Patrick. After all, Sandoval and our congressional leaders on the Republican side all campaign as conservatives. Like most people, Patrick simply fails to look at actions instead of empty words. I would like to know on what planet today does he believe a conservative Democrat exists.

  25. Patrick says:

    The definition of what a “conservative” is changes so often, even amongst those who identify themselves as conservatives, it is difficult to say that someone is a conservative without rankling those who are either more or less conservative but MY use of the word contains within it the meaning typically associated with conservative politicians; that they believe NOT in drastic change from what has been, but rather incremental measured change, if any at all.

    In this sense, politicians identified as conservative democrats in Nevada, who advocate incremental change, if any be advocated, from the pre-existing policies, may fairly be labeled conservatives.

    As relates to the Nevada system of public education, a conservative politician (democratic or conservative) would therefore, at times, argue that rather than turning away from a system of funding schools that this state has relied on for decades, which includes as a very significant part of it’s budget, tax proceeds from casinos, the state should impose very small increases to make up whatever the system requires. This pattern has repeated itself throughout the history of this state; budget shortfalls, calls for increasing the budget, casinos launch counter offensive, politicians vote (at times) for VERY tiny increases in the tax levy for casinos.

    Any politician supporting these limited (incremental) increases in the state tax on casinos, is, in my opinion, conducting themselves in a “conservative” fashion whether they be called democratic politicians, or republican politicians.

  26. The key to improving Nevada education is competition.

  27. Steve says:

    Because he has been known to slow legislation (to an incremental, measured pace) which was desired for fast track by the administration on several occasions,

    Barney Frank, in Patrick’s world, is a conservative.


  28. Patrick says:

    Bumper sticker slogans don’t really serve much purpose though Thomas.

    More money is ONE thing that will make a difference.

    Raise taxes on casinos, raise taxes on mines, raise property taxes.

    Increase funding for schools, improve the state in every way imaginable.

  29. Connie Foust says:

    Patrick, the Assembly exempted the casino revenues from gambling on the 1.4 billion tax bill. So they were to pay taxes on food, rooms etc. However, if they structured as a Real Estate Investment Trust they would be tax exempt from that too. Right now Harrah’s and one other big casino corporation have established REIT’s. So the taxes will fall to the middle class. I would suggest and I am not trying to be arrogant about this, that you quit shooting from the hip, do some reading and self education on Nevada industry and the structure that has been over the years set up to benefit the casino industry especially.

  30. Patrick says:

    Connie, which part of what I wrote about how schools are being funded do you think was incorrect?

    What I said was that taxes on casinos have made up a significant part of the education budget in Nevada and that those taxes have been only incrementally increased for decades.

    If you don’t understand that this is correct, then perhaps you need to educate yourself.

  31. Barbara says:

    Patrick your understanding of Conservatism is on par with Trump’s. It has nothing to do with the pace of change in society. Please read Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater. From the foreward by Dr. Edward Fuelner:

    “The conservative approach, he said, “is nothing more or less than an attempt to apply the wisdom of experience and the revealed truths of the past to the problems of today.” He proceeded to explain what conservatism was and what it was not.

    Unlike the liberal, Goldwater wrote, the conservative believed that man was not only an economic but a spiritual creature. Conservatism “looks upon the enhancement of man’s spiritual nature as the primary concern of political philosophy.” Indeed, Goldwater stated, the first obligation of a political thinker was “to understand the nature of man.”

    The senator then listed what the conservative had learned about man from the great minds of the past: (1) each person was unique and different from every other human being—therefore, provision had to be made for the development of the different potentialities of each person; (2) the economic and spiritual aspects of man’s nature “are inextricably intertwined”—neither aspect can be free unless both are free; (3) man’s spiritual and material development cannot be directed by outside forces—”each man,” he declared, “is responsible for his own development.”

    Given this view of the nature of man, Goldwater stated, it was understandable that the conservative “looks upon politics as the art of achieving the maximum amount of freedom for individuals that is consistent with the maintenance of social order.”

  32. Barbara says:

    I believe Trump has stated he is not a conservative and makes little pretense of agreeing with conservative thought in economic or social policy.

  33. Steve says:

    Who knows what Trump says or means to say?….he’s all over the place.

  34. Connie Foust says:

    Trump is not a conservative as he said and he is problematic at best as a leader. However, he is not a crook and if Hillary gets elected we can kiss the Republic goodbye. She does not stand for anything or anyone in this country. She stands for herself. It is a mystery to me why liberals excuse her past behavior as if it was nothing. She has no values she lives by, she changes with the wind and yet portrays Trump as unstable. I am not a Trump fan but he has my vote.

  35. Barbara says:

    I don’t think I can bring myself to vote for either. In my opinion, both would advance the country down the road to tyranny. It may be even more so under Trump if the Senate and House remain in Republican hands as they would probably feel more obliged to support him than Hillary.

  36. Patrick says:


    1. the disposition to retain what is established and to practice a policy of gradualism rather than abrupt change. Cf. radicalism.
    2. the principles and practices of political conservatives, especially of the British Conservative party. — conservative, n., adj.
    See also: Politics
    -Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.”

    Conservative may mean many things to many people, but as it relates to the topic I was addressing, the usage I chose was wholly appropriate.

    Whatever you, or Barry Goldwater may think

  37. Patrick says:

    Barry did agree with me though, defining what a conservative is, sure does change over time.

    “In 1996, Barry Goldwater sat in his Paradise Valley home with Bob Dole and joked about his strange new standing as a GOP outsider.

    ”We’re the new liberals of the Republican Party,” Goldwater told Dole, who was then facing criticisms from hard-line conservatives in the presidential campaign.

    ”Can you imagine that?”

    It was difficult to picture, but by the time he reached his mid-80s, Barry Goldwater had become something of an outcast in the political movement that he pioneered.

    Though he continued his support of a strong national defense, Goldwater aggravated so many conservatives on other issues that some in Arizona once suggested stripping his name from party headquarters.”


  38. Steve says:

    So does liberalism, Patrick.

    You guys have become the “establishment” which liberals used to fight so hard to eliminate.
    Yes the very same power hungry thing.

  39. Bill says:

    Education is a virtual government monopoly. Liberals hate monopolies unless they are government monopolies. Generally speaking, monopolies are to be avoided. When there is a monopoly, the holder(s) of that monopoly determine who gets what, when, how much and at what price. Monopolies stifle competition and innovation.

    I have always found it curious. If monopolies are bad then why aren’t government monopolies bad?

    Correct me if I am wrong but I don’t believe that his is what our forefathers had in mind.

  40. Rincon says:

    Generally, I agree that having alternatives in education is a good way to encourage diligent behavior from our educators, but in answer to your question about government monopolies, the customers (voters) have the right to demand change. With private monopolies, the customer has no reasonable form of control over the monopolizing business. The problem is that monopolies cannot always be avoided, but when they are necessary, some form of government regulation is necessary as well.

    I suspect that the Conservative community would agree that the monopoly of our Defense Department is necessary. Nevertheless, monopolies in government are best minimized when possible.

  41. Founders liked militias.

  42. Patrick says:

    Left to “the free market” we’d be left with a country where a VERY significant number of citizens would go uneducated.

    Now, some, “the right wing” might see this as a good thing, but those people just are missing the big picture. The a United States is competing with the world now. Because the best educated countries, are the most advantaged in every way, falling behind, in the most important area there is, will make the US a third rate country.

    Ask the former “confederate states” how well the idea of “one for one, and all for none” worked out for them, when their ideals came up against a country where the motto was “we’re in this together”. (Mostly)

    “If we don’t stand together, surely we will all fall as individuals”

  43. Connie Foust says:

    Patrick, that has to be the dumbest post yet. Free markets will leave a VERY significant number of citizens uneducated. Are you talking about citizens or illegal aliens? Free markets unleash the minds of great people like Bell, Edison and on and on. We used to create in this country. Take a look at for instance current TV entertainment basically produced and written by liberals. Each program has to push diversity of color, race and sexuality. Comedian’s are not funny they just use the “f” word a lot. Everyone is pushing a book on news shows. Every pundit thinks their and expert. Where I came from the definition of an expert was “anybody from out of town”. Reality television is not reality and I could go on and on. I long for a program that is not politically correct just to relax and laugh a little. I don’t want the indoctrination of leftists. TV is off most of the time now. That is why God made music.

  44. Patrick says:


    Never underestimate me;)

    But seriously folks, for evidence for what I say, look to any country where there is no public education (heck, look to the time in this country’s history before public school education was mandatory).

    As I said, when the education of a country’s population is left to “the free market” a VERY significant portion of the population goes without even a basic education.

    This benefits (in the long run) no one.

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