Legal Pot Supporters Back With New Tactic

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The organization that tried unsuccessfully to change the law last year to allow adults to smoke marijuana is back in Nevada testing a new strategy.

Advertisements have been appearing on television stations in Reno sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project Foundation suggesting that more than 67 percent of teens in Nevada try marijuana before graduating from high school.

The advertisements say that compares with 28 percent of the teens in the Netherlands, where marijuana use is allowed under some conditions.

Neal Levine, director of state policies for the foundation based in Washington, D.C., said the comparison shows that Nevada's law is not working. Reno is the first market in the United States where the advertisement is airing, Levine said. He refused to say how much the advertising cost or how long it would run.

Levine said the foundation wants to gauge the results of its TV advertising program in Reno. It offers a website to gather reaction to the advertisement.

Levine said the government is not telling the truth about the use of marijuana among minors. The 67 percent figure comes from White House studies, according to the foundation.

While the foundation backs adults using marijuana, it is against children using it, Levine said.

In the Netherlands, adults can buy marijuana at certain stores but must show proof of age if asked.

The foundation last year started an initiative petition in Nevada to allow adults to possess up to three ounces of marijuana without being charged with a crime. It would have set up a string of state-sanctioned shops where marijuana could be sold. Voters rejected the petition 60.7 percent to 39.3 percent.

Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, one of the few legislators who publicly backed the initiative petition, said she has not had any contact with the national marijuana foundation for some time.

She said she will be working in the 2005 Legislature to bring uniformity to the laws regarding driving under the influence of marijuana and being found under the influence while on the job.


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