The Governor's Mansion in Nevada.

Ken Lund

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is opposing the ballot initiative to legalize recreational cannabis use in the state, alleging that legalization “would only set [the state] back.” The resistance came in the form of an email, shared by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, from the Republican’s campaign office. The letter cites increased traffic deaths after legalization in Colorado and Washington, claims legalizing cannabis would “harm children” and negatively affect public safety and increase government spending on social services.

“We have learned from the experience in other states that have legalized marijuana that we will likely see more abuse of the drug by teenagers, a substantial increase in emergency room visits for small children who have accidentally ingested the drug, increased traffic accidents and fatalities, and an even greater strain on our government social service agencies,” Sandoval wrote.

He suggests that legalization could have a negative impact on businesses in Nevada, or those interested in moving to the state, “because of concerns recreational marijuana would raise regarding their workforce.”  

“Finally, there is a tremendous grassroots effort rejecting this measure,” the letter states. “Law enforcement, the medical community, chambers of commerce, the tourism industry, educators and the faith-based community have all joined together to oppose Question 2.”

Sandoval claims that the status of cannabis in the state is reasonable in that the possession penalties have been reduced and patients already have access to medical cannabis.

Nevada is one of five states voting on a recreational cannabis measure during next month’s general election.

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