Las Vegas Sun

April 16, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Marijuana doesn’t mix with education

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As a former educator, I am horrified that the Legislature is considering legalizing recreational marijuana to fund education. What a disgrace. I offer a far more viable and child-friendly alternative to funding education.

A state lottery will produce the same revenue without the harmful effects.

I moved here from Virginia, a state with an excellent reputation for education. Virginia has a state lottery that funds education.

The Virginia lottery website states, “When it comes to education, the Virginia lottery generates more than $1.3 million per day for Virginia’s K-12 public schools. ... In fiscal year 2012, the Virginia lottery generated more than $487.1 million for Virginia’s public schools.”

Nevada embraces all forms of gambling, now including online gambling. Why it shies away from a state lottery is beyond my comprehension. Why should Arizona and California profit from lottery tickets purchased by Nevadans? This doesn’t make sense. Gambling is our business.

My suggestion is to implement a state lottery in Nevada that will solely fund education.

If you choose to legalize marijuana, don’t partner it with the education of our children; partner it with community outreach to provide more funding for mental health, domestic abuse and substance abuse programs.

Trust me, you are going to need them.

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Previous Discussion: 11 comments so far…

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  1. Is it any wonder that a state like Nevada that is last in education in the country, and has been for years, wants to legalize marijuana for recreational use, tourism, and to attract more people to move here? No.

    Carmine D

  2. Here's why we don't have a lottery in Nevada, Nancy: Big Gaming owns the state politicians, and Big Gaming doesn't want a lottery in Nevada. Legalized and taxed pot is a reasonable alternative, and possible if the citizens get behind it. It's 2013. Other states have already legalized pot, hopefully we will follow their lead. Using property taxes as the only source of revenue for the CCSD doesn't make sense any more.

  3. Tax sources dedicated to a particular popular expenditure are a way for legislators and political officials to avoid their responsibilities. They usually overstate, often significantly, the anticipated revenue then reduce the general fund appropriation and divert that to more favored causes. A Nevada lottery will not bring in much money as the state does not have the population to support one. The odds are better in casinos and the atmosphere is more attractive to tourists. Raising taxes on gaming to the average of other gan=ming states would bring in far more revenue. I support legalization and believe that it should be treated like alcohol or tobacco insofar as regulation and taxation are concerned. There are two challenges that I foresee. The first is that legislators seem to have an extremely optimistic view of potential revenue. The second is that a tax imposed which is too high will simply continue the black market.

  4. We suffer a very conflicted life here in Nevada. Many folks make their living off of those who gamble, drink, and get entertainment. With all due respect, Ms.Naylor, you cannot legislate morality (wouldn't that allieviate many ills in our deranged, off kilter, society?). You neglect the fact that tobacco funds have been used in education for decades now, as Commenter Tick expounds, "Tobacco and education don't mix, but we have the millennium scholarship!" Might I add, that even the D.A.R.E. program is also funded by tobacco monies.

    Those in the GAMING/RESORT industries lobby strong and hard to cut off any hope for a lottery in Nevada, as it competes with their business interests. Besides, some studies have shown lotteries to be inconsistent in funding education...it is not a dependable resource that states can bet on for funding.

    Marijuana is an intoxicant akin to alcohol. When our nation was founded, it was widely used by people. But when the women's suffrage needed causes as prohibition to further their march for getting the women's right to vote and property rights, several intoxicants fell prey to the Federal Government's control, therefore it criminalized the uncontrolled use of it, by demonizing it, and creating propaganda using fear, with distorted movies or PSAs as "Reefer Madness" to deter marijuana useage.

    The Federal Government therefore created a "black market" as a consequence, as well as create a whole hierachy of civil service jobs as political favor pay-backs to supporters of successful political candidates. It is all about agendas.

    Enter modern day USA, and changing times. Marijuana has been scientifically researched now, and some of this research yields information on the potential good it possesses for those with ailments. I won't even go there about recreational use, except to say there are countries around the world where the consumption of marijuana is allowed legally. Whatever, to each their own.

    Bottom line is that education here in Nevada has been consistently underfunded, and we are in an economic crisis still. We need to think out of the box and get with funding our infrastructure, taking care of the needs of the People of Nevada.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  5. So far 19 states have legalized marijuana for medical use,and 2 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

    It would be a good idea for our legislators and political officials to take a step back and view for a while the impact pro and con and see what happens in these states who have legalized marijuana.

    Once the smoke clears then make a rational decision of which way we should go on the marijuana issue.

  6. The discussion is ludicrous. There is probably more grass consumed here than any city of comparable size in the world. People come here for a good time and drugs, prostitution and gambling are part of the equation. If people don't like it don't move here.
    Grass is here, tons of it! For the state not to make some money off of it is nonsense.

  7. Edwinpagen is correct. Surveys have been done in which people have been asked about retirement planning. A substantial number report purchasing lotto tickets as part of their retirement strategy. This is a poverty driver. People don't understand the difference between the potential for making money and the statistical probability of winning.
    If you are buying lottery tickets for your retirement you might as well burn the money. Less stress!

  8. Money from taxes for education comes from many sources so the argument to take from gambling, drinking and prostitution but not marijuana does not make any sense.

  9. Nevada still has a hardscrabble economy. The state obtains money by taxing available revenue sources, and spends it where it is most needed. We don't really have the luxury of taxing items of virtue. Trying to conceal revenue sources for appearances sake is as futile as putting lipstick on a pig.

  10. Decriminalize, regulate, tax. The positives far outweigh the negatives. If one finds a direct link between marijuana taxes and education funding to be distasteful (aside from being hypocritical to existence in Las Vegas), then earmark the tax for something else and use the resulting extra funds in the general coffers for education... Six of one, half an ounce of the other.

  11. I wonder how Nancy feels about so many students being hopped up on speed (oops, I mean ADHD drugs). Drugs are drugs, regardless of legal status. I'd rather my kids be mellow from something naturally grown as opposed to tweaked out by a lab made substance from Big Pharma.