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Originally published at Vegas Cannabis Magazine 


What about the children? 

This is the first question asked when States are looking to legalize or decriminalize cannabis.

What about the children?

Safety for our children should always be our number one concern. Cannabis laws make sure that companies and products are nowhere near our children, where they go to school, and where they play.


But what happens when our children experiment with cannabis and get caught?


Currently, Nevada minors with a first-time cannabis offense are sent to juvenile detention.


In February 2021 The Sentencing Project reported that racial disparities in youth incarceration persists.

Nevada comes in at number eight in youth incarceration rates, well above the national average.


A study co-authored by MIT economist Joseph Doyle found that 40 percent of kids who went into juvenile detention ended up in prison by the age of 25.


According to this study published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, pulling troubled young people out of school and confining them in close quarters with other troubled young people is a great way to groom future criminals.


The study also found that kids who went into juvenile detention were very unlikely to return to high school, crippling their ability to achieve a better life.


Bill BDR 360 proposes that no minor under the age of 19 will be detained and sent to juvenile detention center for a first-time cannabis offense.


The Clark County Nevada Department of Juvenile Justice Services has released a report showing that since 2016 the amount of kids charged with [cannabis] possession has gone up each year from 952 charges in 2016 to 1,009 in 2019.


The Juvenile Justice Report shows that Possession of Marijuana is consistently the number two reason our community's children get arrested.


Those children being arrested are 50 percent more likely to be from a black or brown community, even though statistics show there is no significant difference in drug experimentation between youth from different races.


When kids are caught illegally possessing tobacco or alcohol, we do not send these children to juvenile detention. So why send them to juvenile detention for cannabis possession? Cannabis is now legal for adults to use, just like tobacco and alcohol.


When we send minors under the age of 19 to juvenile detention for cannabis offenses, we not only hurt the future of that child and their family, we also hurt the future of our cities and use precious resources that could be applied to build our community, not tear it apart.


So, what about the children?


We need to protect all of our children in Nevada, even if those children are curious about cannabis. When the laws do more damage than the crime, we are no longer a civilized society, we’re a society of selective justice with no regard for those less fortunate.

If we truly are concerned about our future generations, then we must pass the Juvenile Protection Bill BDR 360.



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