Nevada’s school system has the lowest scores nationally and is ranked last in education by Education Week in 2017, while Massachusetts schools are rated best of all the states.

Last November, Nevada and Massachusetts voters passed marijuana industry-written initiatives legalizing commercial pot. In both states, a one-year period was provided for state government to develop their recreational marijuana program, including drafting comprehensive regulations.

In the name of “educational funding,” Nevada politicians and the marijuana industry have entered into an “unholy alliance” to heedlessly rush the process. An “Early Start” program is now set to begin on July 1, without adequate preparation. Nevada has hired only four new employees to run a complicated “seed to sale” recreational marijuana program that required Colorado to add more than 50 additional employees in 2014.

“Light one up for the kids” appears to be the new state motto.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, the state legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker, citing the complexities of legalization, including fundamental conflict with federal law, extended their “first sale” deadline to 18 months. Massachusetts will have sales begin July 1, 2018 — a full year after the Nevada start date.

Massachusetts legislators were not impressed with the “new money for education” argument and vowed to “get it right” on prudent implementation.

Nevada’s linking educational funding to legalized recreational marijuana use seems strange. In Colorado, marijuana use among youths 12-17 increased 20 percent after legalization, making it No. 1 in the nation.

Marijuana commercialization in Nevada may mean slightly more money for education, but increased marijuana use will make our kids less able to learn and more subject to dropping out.

As Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong cautioned: “We’re coming in too fast, too high, too hard, and we don’t really know what we’re doing.”

Colorado and California followed a one-year policy on “first sale.” So should Nevada.

Jim Hartman is an attorney who lives in Genoa. He is president of Nevadans for Responsible Drug Policy.

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