VEGAS - August 6 - Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement (NRLE), the group
behind Question 9, the marijuana initiative, hailed today's endorsement of the
ballot initiative by Nevada's largest law- enforcement organization as "historic."
The Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs (NCOPS) endorsed Question 9,
the marijuana initiative, because it will allow law- enforcement officers to spend
more time going after violent criminals.
"The historic endorsement of the marijuana initiative by Nevada's largest
law-enforcement organization is good news for Nevadans because it means that we're
one step closer to ensuring that law-enforcement officers will have more time
to go after murderers, rapists, kidnappers and other violent criminals,"
said NRLE spokesperson Billy Rogers.
NCOPS President Andy Anderson said, "As a former law-enforcement officer,
I know that a simple marijuana arrest can take me off the street for several hours
and sometimes for over half of my shift. ... We could better spend our time responding
to more life-threatening and serious incidents."
Rogers said opponents of Question 9 have thrown up a smokescreen of disinformation
about the initiative. He criticized federal Drug Czar John Walters and federal
Drug Enforcement Administration chief Asa Hutchinson for telling Nevadans how
to vote on the initiative.
"Last month federal politicians paraded through Nevada urging local law-enforcement
officers to oppose the marijuana initiative," Rogers said. "The federal
Drug Czar and DEA chief should have been listening to Nevada's law-enforcement
officers instead of telling Nevadans how to vote."
A poll published in Monday's Reno Gazette-Journal showed that support for
Question 9 has risen by four percentage points since Walters and Hutchinson visited
Nevada in July.
"The NCOPS endorsement should put to rest any assertion by politicians
and the media that law-enforcement groups oppose Question 9. We are proud to have
the support of our law-enforcement heroes in our campaign for responsible law
[NCOPS's news release follows.]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AUGUST 6, 2002
CONTACT: Andy Anderson, NCOPS President 702-384-5174
NCOPS Endorses Nevada Marijuana Initiative
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- The Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs (NCOPS),
the state's largest law-enforcement organization, endorsed Question 9, the marijuana
NCOPS President Andy Anderson said last year's terrorist attacks, a rising
violent crime rate, and slowing economy contributed to his organization's decision
to support Question 9.
"Violent crime is on the rise and terrorism remains a real threat,"
Anderson said. "Our priorities have changed, and with our limited resources,
so should our laws."
Anderson, a retired Las Vegas Metro Police officer, said most people who are
arrested solely for marijuana possession never face prosecution.
"As law-enforcement officers, we are duly sworn to uphold the law, even
by arresting people for small amounts of marijuana, knowing that most of these
cases won't be prosecuted. Many of these people are law- abiding citizens except
for the possession charges," Anderson said.
"As a former law-enforcement officer, I know that a simple marijuana
arrest takes me off the street for several hours and sometimes for over half of
my shift. Since most of these cases are not being prosecuted, we could better
spend our time responding to more life-threatening and serious incidents.
"I worked a patrol car for the majority of my career, and learned that
our primary function was to `protect and serve,' just like it said on the door
of my cruiser. Part of being a good `cop' was being available when our citizens
called for help."
Anderson said Question 9 has safeguards to ensure public safety and punish
people who irresponsibly use or sell marijuana.
"Law-enforcement officers support Question 9, the marijuana initiative,
because it will put drug dealers in prison, ban smoking marijuana in public places
and strictly prohibit children from using marijuana," Anderson said "Passage
of Question 9 will ensure that more cops are on the streets to protect our citizens
from violent crime and the threat of terrorism."