Nevada Advocates Start 2015 Recreational Campaign

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Cannabis advocates in Nevada believe the state could legalize recreational marijuana next year, and they have established a strategy to accomplish that goal.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana believes it can collect 102,000 petition signatures supporting legalized marijuana this year, which would force the state’s Legislature to vote on the topic in 2015. Two-thirds of Nevada’s legislators would need to vote in favor of the bill for it to pass.

Currently the group is writing an initiative for recreational marijuana. Last week a group of investors raised $150,000 in matching funds to kick off the campaign, which advocates hope to begin in April.

If that plan fails, the group hopes to take the initiative to voters in the 2016 election.

The push for 2015 reverses an earlier stance by advocates, who believed pro-marijuana groups would not be able to raise enough money in time for a realistic campaign next year.

Joe Brezny, executive director of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association, believes legalization could occur in 2015 after lawmakers see how Colorado manages its recreational industry.

“It has support throughout the electorate and there are pockets of support in places where you wouldn’t expect it,” Brezny said.

Nevada lawmakers rejected a recreational marijuana measure in 2013, and legalization has failed twice with voters, first in 2002 and again in 2006. But the state legalized medical marijuana dispensaries in 2013, and a recent poll suggest a majority of Nevadans support recreational legalization, if taxes raised from the industry funded education.