Nevada is now the sixth state in recent months to consider either legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana possession, courtesy of a bill proposed by Democrat Las Vegas Assemblyman Joe Hogan on Friday.
"We've wasted a tremendous amount of money spoiling teenagers' lives, chasing them around until we can arrest them for something," Hogan told the Las Vegas Sun.
"And marijuana is not just a harmless plant. The medical benefits are remarkable."
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The state of Nevada already permits the drug to be used for medical purposes.
A retired naval officer and former Department of Defense employee, Hogan said he is not a marijuana user, except for "maybe 45 years ago [when] someone gifted me a few puffs, but I have not been a user at all."
Hogan is reportedly working with Dr. Stephen Frye, a Las Vegas physician who calls himself "Dr. Pot," in promoting marijuana legalization, according to the Sun.
"I'm really hopeful" it will pass, Hogan said. "It would benefit a lot of people."
In November, Colorado and Washington became the first states to decriminalize marijuana possession, allowing for recreational use of the drug, which is still deemed a controlled substance under federal law.
According to Whitehouse.gov, the federal government continues to oppose the substance because it "has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, [and] there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision."
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado said federal law was not affected by the vote.
"The Department of Justice’s enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged," Jeff Dorschner said in a statement. "We are reviewing the ballot initiative and have no additional comment at this time."
In addition to Nevada, the states of Oregon, Hawaii, and New Mexico are also considering pot legalization measures.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, according to the government's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
In 2011, 18.1 million people illegally used the drug in the U.S. In comparison, that same year 8 million people ages 12 or older used illicit drugs other than marijuana.
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