(NN&V staff) – Monday night, Gov. Jim Gibbons delivered his State of the State address in which he discussed the serious financial crisis facing Nevada. The state reportedly needs to cut nearly $900 million in spending in order to bring its budget into balance.
According to some reports, Gov. Gibbons is seeking new ways to close the budget gap and is willing to put all options on the table. With this financial crisis looming, Dave Schwartz, campaign manager for Nevadans for Sensible Marijuana Laws, released the following statement:
“As a longtime resident of Nevada, I am seriously concerned about the state’s financial situation. The down economy has caused devastating job losses and dramatically diminished revenues. In order to get the state back on sound financial footing, the governor must consider not only cuts in spending, but also new sources of tax revenue. There is no greater opportunity than regulating and taxing the sale of marijuana to adults.
“A legal marijuana market would likely generate tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state, just based on excise and sales taxes. It would also create thousands of new tax-paying employees in the state, as well as new businesses in areas revitalized by the existence of marijuana retail stores.
“One important piece of information to keep in mind is that marijuana is far less harmful than a substance already widely available to Nevadans—alcohol.
“By giving adults in the state the legal option of using marijuana instead of alcohol, we could make our communities healthier and safer while generating new revenues that can be used to improve our roads and our schools. This is a no-lose opportunity, and we sincerely hope the governor will seriously consider it.”
Nevadans for Sensible Marijuana Laws is a ballot advocacy group formed in Nevada to support a 2012 ballot initiative to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol in the state.