May 31 Letters to the Editor
May 30, 2017
Legal pot not helping education
The letter to the editor from Sanford Deyo (May 17) correctly makes the point that Nevada 's school system has the lowest scores nationally and is ranked last in education by Education Week, while Massachusetts schools are rated best of all the states.
Last November, both Nevada and Massachusetts voters passed marijuana industry-written initiatives to legalize commercial pot. In both states, a one year period was provided for state government to develop their commercial recreational marijuana program, including regulations that would be careful, prudent and responsible.
In the name of "educational funding", Nevada politicians and the marijuana industry have entered into an "unholy alliance" to heedlessly rush the process. An "Early Start" program is now set to begin on July 1, 2017 without adequate preparation. "Light one up for the kids," appears to be our new state motto.
Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, the state legislature and Gov. Baker, citing the myriad complexities of legalization, including a fundamental conflict with federal law, have extended their "first sale" deadline to 18 months. Massachusetts will not have commercial sales begin until July 1, 2018, — a full year after the Nevada start date. Massachusetts legislators were not impressed with the "new money for education" argument and vowed to "get it right" on prudent implementation.
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Nevada's linking educational funding to legalizing recreational marijuana use is a strange anomaly. In Colorado, marijuana use among youths 12-17 increased 20 percent after legalization- –making it #1 in the nation. Marijuana commercialization in Nevada may mean slightly more money for education, but kids will be demonstrably less able to learn and more subject to becoming school dropouts.
As Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong cautioned: "We're coming in too fast, too high, too hard, and we don't really know what we're doing". Colorado and California followed a one-year policy on "first sale" — so should Nevada.