Recreational cannabis has failed on the Nevada ballot twice before and I think it’s important for students to discuss the various details of the initiative that’s why I chose to participate on the panel,” said UNLV student, Deuvall Dorsey

 In Education, News

Across Nevada students have been congregating on and off campus to watch the presidential debates. Some students attend the screenings for entertainment, some watch as part of a class assignment and many are genuinely interested in the outcome of the debate. Around campus students talk about solar energy and firearm background checks. At UNLV the conversation slowly turns toward cannabis, adult use and Question 2. Last month that conversation took shape as part of a student panel hosted by the UNLV University Library and the UNLV Political Science Department and featured November’s Nevada Cannabis Student of the Month, Deuvall Dorsey.

The Your Vote Your Voice student panel was a discussion regarding the political process, how voting will impact public policy in Nevada and the topics that will be trending this election season. One of the more popular ballot questions in Nevada this November is Question 2 regarding recreational (adult) use of cannabis. Many see a lucrative emerging industry on the horizon while others view the possible legalization of cannabis with high concerns.

“Recreational cannabis has failed on the Nevada ballot twice before and I think it’s important for students to discuss the various details of the initiative that’s why I chose to participate on the panel,” said UNLV student, Deuvall Dorsey, who is studying for a Master’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies.

During the 10 minute lecture Deuvall spoke about the history of the adult use effort in Nevada, significant changes to be aware of if question 2 does pass and a couple of unintended consequences that may accompany this change in public policy. The discussion resulted with an interest to establish a committee to review the wording and consequences of current school policies regarding cannabis and to suggest recommended changes.

“The ballot initiative will have no effect on campus policies or the student code of conduct. As these changes develop it’s important that we mirror those developments in our campus policies regarding cannabis. If recreational use passes we must start addressing these issues now so that any changes we make can coincide with changes being made on states and local levels,” Deuvall concluded.   

In addition to that, last month UNLV offered a public policy grad level course on marijuana policy in the U.S. in 2016 and beyond, taught by the Brookings Institute’s Senior Fellow of Governance Studies Dr. John Hudak. The course reviewed reasons reform has proceeded as it has, the goals the reformers have sought to achieve, how the movement has changed over time, what state-level models look like, how differences in state and federal law have been dealt with (or ignored), the challenges federal policy creates for state-level reform, and the risks and concerns opponents have of legalization.

“After reading the course description on Nevada’s 1st ever cannabis class offered for college credit I knew I had to enroll,” said Deuvall. The course did not advocate for or against marijuana reform or marijuana prohibition. Instead it worked with facts and encouraged students to form their own opinions about policy to better understand what the future of this policy looks like.

Deuvall’s personal research looks at the framing of cannabis by print media in states where adult use is on the ballot this November. By examining cannabis articles from the largest newspapers in the largest city of each possible new adult use state, Deuvall plans to produce a codifying system to turn the text into statistical data that can be used to conduct a quantitative analysis.

Following his interest in print media Deuvall has been hired as the ad sales representative for the UNLV Rebel Yell student newspaper. He hopes to revitalize the weekly publication by reinforcing the budget through advertising opportunities for cannabis industry businesses. He believes those advertising dollars can increase the quality of the paper by adding more color, more pages and printing more copies of each issue. To obtain a UNLV Rebel Yell media kit, please email advertising2@UNLVrebelYell.com.

In an effort to spread the message even further Deuvall holds the position of Nevada Campus Coordinator for the international organization Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). “My job is to help students begin to organize on every campus in the state. Truckee Meadows and Great Basin are high priorities for me right now and I’m planning to visit each campus later this semester,” said the campus coordinator. “Since voter registration ended last month all of our effort has been put towards reminding students to get out and vote.”

The UNLV SSDP Chapter submitted their paperwork to become an official organization in October and are following through with the final steps of the processes concerning their faculty adviser. For more information regarding the UNLV SSDP Chapter, please email Deuvall@ssdp.org.

Since finishing his undergrad at Nevada State College last May Deuvall has been referred to as Nevada’s #1 graduating prospect of 2016. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for this aspiring cannabis leader.

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