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Nevada Prohibitionists Quiet on the Advertising Front

With about two months left until Question 2 is put to voters, opponents of legal cannabis in Nevada have so far been relatively quiet. According to a Las Vegas Review-Journal report, zero Las Vegas television advertising slots have, so far, been reserved or purchased by any anti-legalization group.

The only advertising against the measure thus far has been in Reno, in the form of billboards purchased by Join Together Northern Nevada. Those roadside ads feature images of munchies with the text, “Can you spot the POT? Can your KIDS?”

Pat Hickney, a former Republican state Assemblyman and co-founder of Nevadans for Responsible Drug Policy, said his group had no plans for TV ad buys against the measure, indicating the group would continue their fight through “grass-roots education, speaking on panels [and] appearing before community businesses and church groups.”

Another anti-cannabis PAC, Protecting Nevada’s Children, was formed on Aug. 18 and is headed by attorney Daniel Stewart. Stewart is a member of Republican consulting firm November Inc., who worked with Gov. Brian Sandoval on his gubernatorial bid.

Sandoval opposes legalizing cannabis for recreational use, but Eric Herzik, head of the University of Nevada’s political science department, said the opposition means little without an active campaign.

“If you’re able to run ads, if you have people who are making calls, knocking on doors, it doesn’t matter if Brian Sandoval says he’s opposed to it,” Herzik said in the report.  

On the flipside, The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, a pro-Question 2 political action committee, has reserved more than $900,000 in commercial ad buys on Southern Nevada TV stations, rolled out digital ads, and unveiled a billboard advertisement supporting the ballot question.

According to the report, the wild card is Sheldon Adelson — the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp and staunch prohibitionist. Aldelson contributed more than $5 million toward the anti-medical marijuana efforts in Florida in 2014. That measure required enactment by 60 percent voter approval because it was a proposed constitutional amendment – it was defeated with 57.6 percent support. Alderson has yet to inject any money into anti-marijuana PACs this election cycle.

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