Nevada isn’t a stranger to voting on cannabis legalization, as the state has defeated two efforts in the past. However, 2016 will be the first year that Silver State voters will have their say on legalization after seeing the positive results in other states and in a presidential election year, when voter turnout is greater. Polling in favor of the Question 2 legalization effort has been relatively strong in Nevada, but a wildcard has been the entrance of right-wing billionaire Sheldon Adelson into the race, both with his money and in the purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada’s largest newspaper.
The Review-Journal’s Editorial Board initially endorsed cannabis legalization, but flip-flopped on the issue after Adelson bought the paper. While it is a free, capitalist country and Adelson can choose an editorial board that fits his agenda, it was really disrespectful of its readership for the paper to not even mention the ownership change in the flip-flopping editorial. If legalization doesn’t pass in Nevada, Sheldon Adelson will certainly take a lot of credit, but according to polling commissioned by his paper, supporters of Question 2 slightly outnumber those opposed:
Likely Nevada voters narrowly support the ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana use in the state, according to a poll commissioned by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Forty-seven percent of poll respondents support Question 2, which would allow adults 21 and older to legally buy and consume marijuana, according to the poll conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International. Forty-three percent oppose the measure, and 10 percent said they are still undecided or didn’t answer.
The new poll shows a slight drop among Nevadans opposing the measure. A Review-Journal poll conducted in September showed voters were virtually deadlocked on the issue, with 47 percent supporting it and 46 percent opposing.
With a margin of error of 3.5%, we could be looking at a nailbiter in Nevada. It is a good sign that it looks like some opposition has softened and moved into the undecided column since the last poll, but Nevada can only be characterized as a tossup for cannabis legalization, as well as the state’s important U.S. Senate race and presidential vote.
With young voters penchant for supporting legalization, it would be prudent for Democrats and progressives, who want to see Hillary Clinton elected over Donald Trump and Catherine Cortez Masto in the Senate instead of Republican Joe Heck, to assist and contribute to the Question 2 effort. The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol campaign has done some great work and can certainly use help down the finish line to win this extremely tight race.