State senator introduces new recreational pot initiative - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

State senator introduces new recreational pot initiative

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The iconic leaf of a marijuana plant is seen in this undated image. (File/FOX5) The iconic leaf of a marijuana plant is seen in this undated image. (File/FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Medical marijuana is coming to Clark County, but a state senator wants to take it a step further.

On Tuesday, Sen. Richard S. "Tick" Segerblom kicked off an initiative to legalize, tax and regulate recreational marijuana like alcohol.

Segerblom said he wants to make Las Vegas the "Amsterdam of the West," a place where tourists will flock to try marijuana, then go home and tell their friends about it.

Segerblom needs 100,000 signatures to put the initiative on the 2016 ballot. As of Tuesday afternoon, he had two.

The senator, who is working with Joe Brenzy of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association, wants anyone 21 years old and up to be able to purchase an ounce of pot.

"This is our third try," Brenzy said.

Brenzy and Segerblom believe the third time is a charm, thanks to states like Colorado challenging the social stigma surrounding recreational pot.

"The polling has slowly increased. More people are admitting current laws don't work, they failed. We need a better way," Brenzy said.

In Colorado, taxes from recreational marijuana are expected to bring in about $100 million in the next few years.

Segerblom said legalizing marijuana in Nevada and slapping a 15 percent tax on it would provide a huge boost for our state.

"People are going to come here, get their picture taken in the dispensary, buy a joint, buy a T-shirt, go home and show their friends what they did in Las Vegas," he said.

Segerblom said the plan is a win-win for the state. The tax money would fund schools and discourage Nevadans from obtaining marijuana illegally.

"The fact is people use substances to enjoy themselves – they're already using it. Let's control it, tax it. Let's make money off it," Segerblom said.

If Segerblom gathers enough signatures, the initiative will be presented to the 2015 Nevada Legislature. If legislators shoot it down, it could wind up on the November 2016 ballot.

If approved, product would be available for purchase at medical marijuana dispensaries. The tax wouldn't apply to medical marijuana patients, however.

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