Assemblyman Joe Hogan (D-Las Vegas) will introduce a measure Friday to legalize the possession of recreational marijuana in Nevada. The bill makes Nevada the latest of several states to consider the full decriminalization of pot.
Assemblyman Hogan is confident that the pros of pot legalization vastly outweigh its cons. "We've wasted a tremendous amount of money spoiling teenagers lives, chasing them around until we can arrest them for something," he told the Las Vegas Sun. "And marijuana is not just a harmless plant. The medical benefits are remarkable."
Despite his adamant stance on the issue, Hogan, a former naval officer, does not smoke pot. "Maybe 45 years ago someone gifted me a few puffs,” he said. “But I have not been a user at all.”
For marijuana advocates, a victory in Nevada would represent a major step toward their ultimate goal of federal legalization for its recreational use. The new bill comes on the heels of successful campaigns in Washington and Colorado, each of which passed decriminalization laws last November. The state legislatures of Hawaii, Oregon and New Mexico are also considering legalization measures.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, Hogan has been working closely with Stephen Frye, a Las Vegas doctor, to push the issue. Frye has taken to referring to himself by the rather overt nickname of “Dr. Pot.”
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While Nevada has already legalized the use of medical marijuana, patients are currently lacking a legal method of obtaining it. Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas) has sponsored legislation to develop a dispensary network, but his efforts appear to be unrelated to Hogan’s bill. "I'm sticking to medical marijuana," he told the Las Vegas Sun.