Pot initiative backers launch ad campaign

RENO — A group that seeks to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Nevada is launching its first ad campaign in a unique venue.

Rather than take out TV or radio ads, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is posting ads on the restroom walls of more than two dozen Las Vegas bars and restaurants.

The ads use bathroom-inspired themes to get across the group’s twofold message: police are wasting time by going after pot users, and marijuana legalization would create revenue for Nevada’s public schools.

One ad features a nearly empty roll of toilet paper made of cash and the text, “Limited resources should be reserved for serious matters.”

Another features a toilet filled with cash and the text, “Why flush money down the toilet?”

“It’s time to regulate marijuana and start treating it like alcohol,” coalition spokesman Joe Brezny said in a statement. “These ads will reach folks at a time when we know they have a few minutes to put some thought into it.”

Organizers must gather about 102,000 signatures statewide to send the matter to the 2015 Legislature. If lawmakers reject it or take no action, it would go to voters in 2016.

Nevada voters rejected efforts to legalize small amounts of marijuana in 2002 and 2006. A bill with the same goal died in the 2013 Legislature.

The latest measure would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana. It also would set up a regulatory structure for cultivation and dispensaries similar to what’s being implemented for medical marijuana in the state.

Only two states, Colorado and Washington, currently allow pot consumption for fun.

Giving or selling marijuana to minors, driving under the influence of pot and using marijuana in public would remain illegal under the Nevada measure.

The proposal would impose a 15 percent tax on wholesale pot sales, while retail transactions would be taxed at existing sales tax rates. Net revenues would go into the Distributive School Account to support public schools.

The group must collect 102,000 signatures statewide to send the matter to the 2015 Legislature.


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