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Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: more testimony on the anti-protest bill; plus we will take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

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Recreational Pot Becomes Legal in Nevada on Sunday

Recreational marijuana possession becomes legal for adults over age 21 in Nevada this Sunday. (growweedeasy/morguefile)
Recreational marijuana possession becomes legal for adults over age 21 in Nevada this Sunday. (growweedeasy/morguefile)
December 28, 2016

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Question Two, which legalized possession of up to an ounce of recreational-use marijuana for people over age 21, goes into effect this Sunday, Jan. 1. Sales of recreational marijuana, however, remain illegal until the state can put a new system of regulations in place, and that might not be until 2018.

State Sen. Tick Segerblom, who co-chaired the Question Two campaign, said this could create some chaos in the interim.

"My personal fear is that, because we don't have a process to purchase it, that it's going to create a black market, where the product will be inferior because it won't be grown and tested the way our medical product is," he said. "And it won't be taxed, so the state won't be getting the revenue that we hope to get from legalized marijuana."

He estimates that Nevada will make $60 million a year by taxing marijuana purchases once sales become legal statewide. To bridge the gap, Segerblom said he'll propose a bill in the next legislative session in February, to immediately allow medical marijuana dispensaries to sell their product to people over 21, even if they don't have a medical marijuana card.

He added that the so-called "early-start program" would be similar to one in Oregon that brought millions to state coffers there.

"In Oregon, when they did an early-start program through their medical program, their taxes were $5 million a month, the first month that it was implemented," he explained. "And Oregon is about the same size as Nevada and actually has a much smaller tourism base, so I think $5 million is a very conservative estimate."

There are about 60 dispensaries licensed to sell medical marijuana in Nevada, though some aren't in operation yet. About 25,000 Nevadans have medical marijuana cards, a number that grows by a thousand people per month.

Segerblom said his early-start bill would not require recreational users to be registered in any state database.

Suzanne Potter/Shaine Smith, Public News Service - NV