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Recreation marijuana petition drive launched

Reported by: Vicki Gonzalez
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Updated: 5/29 1:35 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- It has been a month since a pro-marijuana group began the process of trying to legalize recreational marijuana in Nevada.

Today they kicked off a signature petition drive with the goal of collecting thousands of signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot.

This will not be an overnight change. The initiative is for the 2016 ballot, so voters will have two years to think it over.

"The coalition to regulate marijuana like alcohol" has more hurdles before it reaches the polling booth.

"I wanted to be the first, let's put it that way," said State Senator Richard "Tick" Segerblom.

Segerblom was joined by Joe Brezny from the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association. Both believe Las Vegas' tourism, combined with an underground marijuana market, are a winning jackpot for our state.

"If we do this right, this will be a major boom to tourism, which is our economy," Segerblom said.

The District 3 Democrat is a familiar face in this blossoming industry, having sponsored Nevada's medical marijuana dispensary law, which is beginning to take shape.

"We don't want this to confuse medical marijuana; we don't want it to interfere with medical marijuana because they really go separately," Segerblom said.

The ink on this new petition is barely dry, but there is a lot of work ahead to make it a reality.

More than 100,000 signatures from registered voters are needed by November 11, roughly split between the four congressional districts. This is a minimum of 10 percent of signatures needed from residents from each district.

If passed, recreational marijuana would allow users, 21 and over, to legally keep 1 ounce in their possession.

A 15-percent wholesale tax would go directly to the distributed school account, which funds K through 12 education in Nevada.

"We can regulate this just like alcohol, and help do what we've done there-- which is let's make it more difficult for kids to get," Brezny said.

Brezny has also had a previous hand in politics for the Nevada Republican senate caucus, as well as serving as Mitt Romney's campaign director for the state.

Joining with a Democrat creates a unique political climate.

"It’s something where more and more people-- now a majority-- have realized there's no boogeyman with cannabis," Brezny said.

In the third attempt since 2002 to legalize recreational marijuana in Nevada, both believe the charm this time is nipping the progressive heels of our neighbor.

"The fact that it has happened in Colorado and obviously is working well just shows the time has come," Segerblom said.

Colorado is generating around $1 million week in tax revenue since recreational marijuana got the go ahead this year-- that's including medical marijuana sales tax and licensing fees.

Sen. Segerblom believes with around 40 million tourists visiting Las Vegas each year, Nevada has the potential to generate that amount-- or even more.

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