Nevada DAs oppose decriminalizing marijuana

The Nevada District Attorneys Association voted Thursday to oppose decriminalizing possession or use of small amounts of marijuana.

Association President Arthur Mallory, DA of Churchill County, said not only would the proposed constitutional amendment put Nevada law in conflict with federal law, but district attorneys believe marijuana is a gateway drug leading people to try more dangerous substances.

They took the vote at an association meeting in Reno after supporters of the ballot question to decriminalize pot won a place on the November ballot.

Billy Rogers of the Marijuana Policy Project, which organized the petition drive, expressed doubt this week the amendment would cause any major problems with federal authorities because, he said, they are interested in big dealers, not small users. And officials from the Nevada U.S. Attorney's Office admitted small use and possession prosecutions are almost nonexistent.

Mallory said federal authorities recently closed a California business that was dispensing marijuana for those who have medical conditions it may help. Rogers argues the problem with the California law is that it is too vague.

The conference in Reno included 16 of Nevada's 17 district attorneys. Stewart Bell of Clark County was at a national conference and did not vote on the matter.


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