Reno News & Review editor seeks to dispel ‘myths’ on Nevada’s marijuana ballot question

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October 12, 2016 – by Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers

Dennis Myers, news editor of the Reno News & Review, said one of the jobs his weekly newspaper will do this election season is dispel myths around Nevada’s Question 2 on the November ballot, which would legalize recreational marijuana for adults in Nevada.

“When this came up, I made up my mind that we were going to go into it very deeply,” Myers said Wednesday on Nevada Newsmakers. “The drug war has been doing an enormous amount of damage to the family unit in the United States. There are a lot of families that are headed by women alone because men are in prison for non-violent crimes. It is very much like it was during Prohibition.”

Myers added: “There is so much misinformation out there, I don’t know how to keep up with it,” noting the News & Review devoted a major cover story to the issue and has a weekly story, “Pot Tales,” to battle the marijuana misinformation.

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He pointed to the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities in Las Vegas and the Reno Gazette-Journal for promoting  marijuana “myths.”

“One of the things that is bothering me right now is that people are repeating the myths, not knowing if they are true or not,” Myers said.

“The Guinn Center put out a study of Question 2 and repeated all of the reasons against it without giving the voters any idea as to if they were true or not.

Veteran Nevadan Journalist Ray Hagar is known for fair and tough reporting and invigorating commentary.
Veteran Nevadan Journalist Ray Hagar is known for fair and tough reporting and invigorating commentary.

“The Sunday Gazette-Journal printed a thing about how it is difficult in Colorado now to get someone who could pass a drug test to put them on a construction crew,” Myers said. “Well, that was true before marijuana was legalized in Colorado and they (RGJ) didn’t bother to take the next step to find this out.”

One of the biggest myths about marijuana is it’s level of addiction, Myers said.

“The science tells us that marijuana is basically less addictive than any other substance,” Myers said. “A generation went through Vietnam and coped the best they could,” Myers said about marijuana use. “And when they came home, they dropped it. A lot of people out there know that when they hear these commercials about addiction, they know from their own experiences that it is not true.”

Some medical and addiction professionals say that marijuana is addictive.

According to American Addiction Centers: “Regular marijuana users often experience signs of withdrawal when they stop taking the drug. Many marijuana users find it difficult to stop using the drug, even when they want to do so. Both of these signs are hallmarks of addictive drugs.”

Recreational marijuana use for those 21 and over is already legal in Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C.

As with Nevada, California citizens will also vote on a legal recreational marijuana ballot question on Election Day.

If Nevada and California voters approve the ballot question, the entire adult population of the West Coast of the United States will be allowed to ingest legal marijuana.

Yet the War on Drugs, which took off during the administration of Richard Nixon, is still being fought, Myers said.

“The problem is the punitive enforcement machinery is still in place and is eating up huge amounts of money, sending a large number of people to prison and a lot of it is directed at African Americans,” Myers said. “The sheer number of black families and households that has only one parent in them is terrible and unnecessary.”

To watch this episode of the Nevada Newsmakers, click here.

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