Nevada Cannabis Law

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A Guide to Nevada Cannabis Laws

Recreational marijuana is legal in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada, but with limits. There are six key things to know:

  1. Adults 21 and over may possess up to one ounce of marijuana or 1/8 ounce of cannabis concentrate.
  2. It is illegal to possess larger quantities unless you are a licensed vendor/retailer.
  3. Because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, it is illegal to possess weed on federal property within the state, such as military bases and national parks.
  4. Marijuana may not be consumed in public in Nevada, including in casinos and hotel rooms. That said, there is very lax enforcement of this rule.
  5. Only licensed dispensaries may sell pot.
  6. In 2022, public consumption may become legal in licensed social use venues. Currently, the only legal cannabis consumption lounge is The Vegas Tasting Room.

Is weed legal in Nevada?

  • Weed is legal in Nevada, but only within certain limits. Adults 21 years of age and older may possess up to one ounce of pot for personal use. Or they may possess up to 1/8 of an ounce (3.5 grams) of marijuana concentrate (such as hashish). The concentrate is the separated resin, either crude or purified, containing THC or CBD.
    • It is illegal to consume recreational cannabis outside a private residence. And residential owners may prohibit marijuana on their own property.
    • Examples of public places where use of marijuana is illegal under state law include:
      • Hotel rooms,
      • Casinos,
      • Schools and universities,
      • Dorm rooms,
      • Common areas in apartment buildings,
      • Offices buildings,
      • Restaurants,
      • Bars,
      • Stadiums,
      • Vehicles,
      • Public restrooms, and
      • Federal property1
    • Las Vegas has legalized public pot consumption in social use venues. But the governor delayed this legalization until 2022. However, people can currently consume pot legally in the Paiute cannabis lounge.2
    • Note that some hotels sell themselves as “cannabis friendly.” But call ahead of time to make sure they permit marijuana on-site. And know that even if the hotel allows cannabis use, hotel patrons still run the risk of citation or arrest by police.

Penalties

  • Smoking weed in public is a misdemeanor carrying a $600 fine in the state of Nevada.
    • A first offense of having more than 1 oz. but less than 14 grams is a category E felony. Courts grant eligible defendants who plead guilty or no contest a deferral of judgment, which means the charge will get dismissed if the defendant completes various court- ordered sentencing terms. Otherwise, category E felony convictions carry probation and a suspended sentence. (But if the defendant has two or more prior felony convictions, the court may order one to four years of Nevada State Prison and a maximum of $5,000 in fines.)

Where can marijuana be purchased?

  • In licensed dispensaries. Purchasers must show their ID. And they may not consume the pot until they get home.
    • On the drive home, the weed must remain in a sealed container. Ideally it should also be out of view in the trunk or glove compartment. Neither drivers nor passengers may consume pot in a vehicle.

Dispensaries

  • Most marijuana dispensaries are in Las Vegas, Henderson, and Reno. A county’s population determines the number of dispensaries it can license.
  • Clark County has the most: 80 licenses. Washoe County has the second-most: 20 licenses. Carson City has four. And the remaining 14 counties have two licenses.
    • Local governments determine their dispensaries’ store hours. And the dispensaries must keep these hours conspicuously posted. Currently, Las Vegas dispensaries may operate between 6:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M. And in Reno, closing must be no later than midnight.
    • Many dispensaries are licensed to sell both recreational and medical marijuana. Consumers of recreational pot pay a regular sales tax.3

Is it legal to grow and cultivate cannabis?

  • Cultivating recreational weed is illegal with one exception. The grower must live more than 25 miles from a licensed dispensary.
    • People who do live more than 25 miles away may grow up to six marijuana plants. No household may have more than 12 plants total.
    • The plants must be located in an enclosed space such as a room, greenhouse, or closet. The space must have a lock or security apparatus. And the plants cannot be visible to the public. If the grower is not the property owner, the grower must get the owner’s permission.4
    • Penalties
      • Growing more than the 12-plant maximum is a category E felony. Category E felony convictions carry probation and a suspended sentence, with a possible sentence of up to 1 year in jail. (But if the defendant has two or more prior felony convictions, the court may order one to four years of Nevada State Prison and a maximum of $5,000 in fines.)

Who is allowed to sell or distribute marijuana?

  • Only licensed dispensaries may sell and distribute pot in Nevada. Weed may not be driven or transported between state lines. It makes no difference if marijuana is legal in both states.
    • Weed also may not be sent through the mail. When the USPS detects pot, it may make the delivery only to arrest the recipient.5
    • Penalties
      • A first-time offense of possessing pot with the intent to sell it is a category D felony. It carries one to four years in prison and possibly up to $5,000 in fines.
      • A first-time offense of selling pot is a category C felony. It carries one to five years in prison and possibly up to $10,000 in fines.
      • Any action involving 50 pounds or more of weed is prosecuted as trafficking. Depending on the weight, prison sentences range from one year to life.

Can minors have marijuana?

  • No one under age 21 may possess weed in Nevada. The only exception is people with medical marijuana cards.
    • Juveniles under 18 caught with marijuana face delinquency charges, including a driver’s license suspension of 90 days to 2 years.6

Is DUI of marijuana a crime?

  • Yes. Nevada law prohibits drunk driving and drugged driving. Even if the driver is not impaired, it is DUI per se to drive with the following pot levels:
    • Blood: At least 2 nanograms per milliliter (or 5 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolite);
    • Urine: At least 10 nanograms per milliliter (or 5 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolite)
    • A first-time DUI conviction with no injury is a misdemeanor. Penalties typically include a fine and suspended jail sentence. The judge also orders DUI school and a victim impact panel.
    • Note that it is a misdemeanor carrying a $600 fine to drive with an open container of marijuana, even if no one is consuming it. After purchasing marijuana from a dispensary, be sure to store it in a sealed container in the trunk so it is out of reach from the passenger area. And it is also a crime to cross state lines with marijuana in the car.7

What are the medical marijuana laws?

  • People of any age can apply for a medical marijuana card in Nevada. Their doctor just needs to sign off on it.
  • If the patient is under 18, his/her parent or guardian needs to sign the medical use Minor Release Form. This parent or guardian also acts as the primary caregiver.
  • The medical card must be issued by Nevada or one of the following reciprocal states:
    • Alaska
    • Arizona
    • Arkansas
    • California
    • Connecticut
    • District of Columbia
    • Delaware
    • Ely Shoshone Tribe
    • Hawaii
    • Illinois
    • Maine
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • Minnesota
    • Montana
    • Nevada
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • New Mexico
    • Ohio
    • Oregon
    • Pennsylvania
    • Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    • Washington
    • Yerington Paiute Tribe
    • Winnemucca Indian Tribe
  • Cardholders may buy up to 2.5 ounces of usable weed within a 14-day period. Usable weed includes:
    • Edibles
    • Flowers
    • Concentrates
    • Topicals
    • Medical marijuana cardholders can buy 2.5 ounces of one type of medical cannabis. Else they can buy a combination that amounts to 2.5 ounces. Patients may purchase their cannabinoids all in one dispensary. Or they may go to several dispensaries.
    • Dispensaries share customer information with each other. So they will not sell cannabis to patients who already met their limit.8

Is pot still illegal under federal law?

  • Yes, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. But federal law enforcement officers are unlikely to bust recreational users or licensed dispensaries. But they could.
  • In addition, people caught with weed may be ineligible for federal financial aid. This includes:
    • Work-Study programs;
    • Pell grants;
  • Perkins loans;
    • PLUS loans; or
    • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants;
    • Weed users may also be ineligible for federal housing benefits. Pot users may not purchase a gun. And pot is banned on federal property. Examples include federal buildings, parks, and military bases.
    • Furthermore, businesses that accept large amounts of federal funding have to follow the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.9

Can the cases be sealed?

  • Yes, unless the case was for felony DUI. And there is a waiting period, unless the case was dismissed. The length of the wait depends on the crime.10

What are the immigration consequences?

  • All marijuana crimes are deportable with one exception: Possessing 30 grams or less for personal use.
    • Non-citizens facing prosecution should hire an attorney immediately. The attorney may be able to get the charge dropped. Or he/she may get the charge reduced to a non- deportable offense.

Can I be fired for using marijuana?

  • Yes. Nevada employers can drug-test their employees and fire them for having consumed marijuana. But if the employer drug-tested the employee for an illegal reason (such as for the employee’s race, nationality, religion, etc.), then the employee may have legal recourse to recover lost wages and/or be reinstated.

Chronic or debilitating medical condition

  1. An anxiety disorder;
  2. An autism spectrum disorder;
  3. An autoimmune disease;
  4. Anorexia nervosa;
  5. Cancer;
  6. Dependence upon or addiction to opioids;
  7. Glaucoma;
  8. A medical condition or treatment for a medical condition that produces, for a specific patient, one or more of the following:
    • Cachexia;
    • Muscle spasms, including, without limitation, spasms caused by multiple sclerosis;
    • Seizures, including, without limitation, seizures caused by epilepsy;
    • Nausea; or
    • Severe or chronic pain;
  9. The human immunodeficiency virus and any medical condition related to the human immunodeficiency virus;
  10. A neuropathic condition, whether or not such condition causes seizures; or
  11. Any other medical condition or treatment for a medical condition that is:
    • Classified as a chronic or debilitating medical condition by regulation of the Division; or
    • Approved as a chronic or debilitating medical condition pursuant to a petition submitted in accordance with NRS 678C.810.

Designated primary caregiver” means a person who:

  • The term does not include the attending provider of health care of a person diagnosed with a chronic or debilitating medical condition.
    • Is 18 years of age or older;
    • Has significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a person diagnosed with a chronic or debilitating medical condition; and
    • Is designated as such in the manner required pursuant to NRS 678C.270.

Cannabis Advertising Guidelines GENERAL

  • Advertising must include the following warnings: ‘Keep Out of Reach of Children’ and ‘For Use Only by Adults 21 Years of Age or Older.’
  • Advertising is not permitted within 1,000 feet of the property line of public & private schools, daycares, playgrounds, parks, community centers, and libraries. This includes vehicle wraps and mobile billboards.
  • Sporting Events: Advertising is not permitted at sporting events in which persons who are under 21 years of age are allowed entry.
  • Entertainment Events: Advertising is allowed if it is reasonable estimated that less than 30% of the persons in attendance are under 21 years of age.
  • Media: Advertising is not permitted on television, radio, or other publications where the projected audience under 21 years of age is more than 30%.
  • A cannabis establishment must maintain documentation for at least five years, if advertising to an audience and determining the percentage of persons under 21 years of age. The cannabis establishment must be able to demonstrate the manner in which it determined the reasonably expected age of the audience for that advertisement.
  • Advertising is not permitted on or in vehicles for public transportation including any shelter for public transportation.
  • Advertising may not be handed out (i.e. pamphlets, handbills, etc.).
  • Advertising on social media and business-to-business advertisements must follow the same guidelines.

NOT ACCEPTABLE IN ADVERTISING

  • Contains false or misleading statements or illustrations;
  • Depicts the consumption of cannabis products i.e. smoking, eating, vaping, dabbing, or using a topical;
  • Promotes the overconsumption of cannabis products;
  • Depicts persons under 21 years of age consuming cannabis products; any indication of a child’s presence; resemblance to brands targeted at children, toys, candy, fruit, cartoon characters, or any other depiction designed in a manner that is appealing to children, or encourages consumption of cannabis to persons under 21 years of age;
  • Offers cannabis for free or donated without purchase.
  • NOTE: All product packaging still requires pre-approval.

Cannabis Tax Guide

  • Adult use retail: Purchases are subject to a 10% cannabis excise tax, plus the 4.6% statewide sales tax. Out the door, expect a total of roughly 15% added to your purchase for taxes.
  • Medical marijuana: Purchases are subject only to the 4.6% statewide sales tax.
  • Wholesale: There is a 15% marijuana excise tax imposed on wholesale sales and transfers.

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-678C.html#NRS678CSec030

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