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Officials unsure how pot legalization would affect city

The potential legalization of marijuana in Nevada will be presented to voters Nov. 8, and a yes or no vote on Question 2 is not currently a concern for Boulder City public officials and safety officers.

Boulder City Public Information Officer Sue Manteris said the city has no public stance on the legalization of marijuana in Nevada and there is no way for the police department to know how legalization would affect policing in Boulder City.

“Until the statute is finalized, there is no real way to determine what the impact will be,” Manteris wrote in an email.

A yes vote would make recreational use of 1 ounce or less of marijuana legal to consume for people 21 years or older, while a no vote would keep recreational use of marijuana illegal in Nevada.

Manteris said the police department has not seen a noticeable increase in arrests for pot use, according to Boulder City Police Chief Timothy Shea.

Support and opposition to the question heated up in the past month, with both sides mounting an advertising blitz.

According to an Oct. 18 campaign finance filing by the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office, the “Yes on 2” campaign has raised $2.94 million in contributions while the “No on 2” campaign raised $2.12 million.

Religious groups have overwhelmingly opposed legalization. In a letter, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said a yes vote was a danger to children.

“Drug abuse in the United States is at epidemic proportions, and the dangers of marijuana to public health and safety are well documented. Recent studies have shed light particularly on the risks that marijuana use poses to brain development in youth. The accessibility of recreational marijuana in the home is also a danger to children. We urge Church members to let their voices be heard in opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana use.”

The Nevada Catholic Conference wrote that legalization would create too much strain on an overburdened government.

“As people of faith, we must speak out against the damaging effects the passage of Question 2 would have on the children and families of Nevada. Legalizing the sale and recreational use of marijuana will lead to more abuse by teens, more emergency room visits, more traffic deaths and more strain on already overburdened government agencies.

“Because of the detrimental effects it would have on children, families, the economy and all of society, we strongly urge Nevadans to oppose the legalization of the sale and recreational use of marijuana, and to vote ‘No’ on Ballot Question 2.”

A recent poll conducted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal shows a close race with 47 percent of Nevadans in support of legalization and 46 percent against it.

Contact reporter Max Lancaster at mlancaster@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @MLancasterBCR.

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