Group Offering $10,000 for Marijuana Challenge - 8 News NOW

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Group Offering $10,000 for Marijuana Challenge

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A Nevada group that wants to legalize marijuana is offering a unique challenge that could make someone $10,000 richer.

The group says it will write a check to anyone who can prove drinking alcohol is safer than smoking marijuana. Marijuana advocates say their goal is to legalize and regulate marijuana.

With this $10,000 challenge, the group says it hopes to educate the public and show that drinking alcohol is more dangerous than smoking pot.

"We are confident that will not need to pay out this $10,000," said David Schwartz, Marijuana Policy Project of Nevada.

At a news conference Wednesday, the group said using marijuana is safer than drinking alcohol and hopes their challenge will prove it.

"Alcohol is more toxic than marijuana, more likely to be lethal either by overdose or chronic use and more likely to contribute to violence," Schwartz said. And if you think that's not true, the group wants you to prove it. In order to win the cash they say you must disprove three points. First, that alcohol is significantly more toxic than marijuana. Second, that the health effects from long term alcohol cause more deaths each year than from long term marijuana use. And finally, that violent crime committed by people under the influence of alcohol is more prevalent than violent crime committed by people under the influence of marijuana.

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"It's been on the ballot twice before and in the last round -- in 2006 -- it garnered 44 percent of the vote which is a record vote. And in the future if we go through the initiative process, we think it will do quite well," Schwartz said.

But while the group might believe smoking marijuana is safer than drinking alcohol, a local drug and alcohol counselor says the dangers and consequences are actually very similar. Erin Kinard says both lead to addiction, both are a gateway to more serious drugs and both can cause people to become violent.

"Both can destroy life. Both have the potential to cause you to lose your job, lose your family, have legal repercussions. Both have the potential to have a severe impact on a person's life," said Erin Kinard, Westcare Nevada.

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