As a spokesperson for the Question Two campaign and a strong supporter, I am still feeling the “buzz” from Tuesday’s election results. Nevadans agree that adults should not be punished for choosing to use marijuana, privately and responsibly. As we move forward, many people are starting to question when and where this legal marijuana can be purchased and how this will affect Nevada’s Medical Marijuana Program.

What are the laws governing recreational marijuana?

marijuana_regulations_signInitiative Petition 1 is the ballot initiative that voters passed on November 8, 2016. The Initiative sets forth an outline of the recreational marijuana laws, such as who will regulate the industry, the amount of the excise tax, and how much marijuana people are allowed to buy, use, and possess. The Initiative is an outline, though, and the Department of Taxation will issue regulations that will determine the qualifications for ownership, the rules on advertisements, requirements for testing, etc.

Can I purchase recreational marijuana today?

No, Initiative Petition 1, the ballot initiative that passed on November 8, 2016 does not become effective until January 1, 2017. See below for more information on when you may be to make purchases.

When will adults over 21 be able to purchase marijuana?

recreational_marijuana_dispensaryThe effective date of Initiative Petition 1 is January 1, 2017. That does not mean adults over 21 can go into a dispensary on January 1, 2017 and legally purchase “recreational” marijuana. Rather, the Department of Taxation has 12 months from that date to issue regulations and begin accepting applications for marijuana establishments that will sell recreational marijuana, or dual licensees, which can sell both recreational and medical marijuana.

The Department of Taxation must approve or deny an application within 90 days after receipt of the application. Therefore, it is anticipated that legal recreational sales will occur around April of 2018.

However, Senator Tick Segerblom, widely considered the “godfather of marijuana” in Nevada, has again taken the lead on marijuana in Nevada and is organizing a trip to Oregon to do research on their “Early Start” program, which allowed sales of recreational marijuana earlier than their ballot initiative contemplated. If Senator Segerblom finds that a similar program would be successful in Nevada, then it is possible for the Nevada legislature to enact a similar “Early Start” program to allow legal sales of recreational marijuana prior to 2018.

What is allowed?

As of January 1, people will be able to possess, use, and consume up to 1 ounce of marijuana and 1/8th of an ounce of concentrated marijuana. Also, cultivation and possession of up to 6 plants will be legal unless a person resides within 25 miles of a dispensary. While possession and consumption is legal January 1, 2017, you must stay tuned on the date legal purchases can be made.

What is the tax rate?

marijuana moneyInitiative Petition 1 imposes a 15% excise sales tax on wholesale sales in addition to state and local sales, which will be used to pay for costs of administering the program, with the remaining funds going to the State’s school distributive account.

How will Initiative Petition 1 affect the medical marijuana program?

With regards to the impact on the medical marijuana program, Initiative Petition 1 states that nothing in the Petition shall be construed to affect the medical marijuana program under NRS 453A. Therefore, patients do not need to worry that their rights or understanding of the medical marijuana program will change in any way.

What does Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Mean?

The Department of Taxation will regulate recreational marijuana, which will be cultivated and sold in a three-tier model similar to alcohol.marijuana_and_alcohol

Can people use marijuana in public now?

No, Initiative Petition 1 allows for criminal penalties for persons who smoke or consume marijuana in a public place, retail marijuana store, or moving vehicle. It will still be illegal to consume marijuana in a public place and you will most likely be in violation of Nevada’s DUI laws if you consume it in a vehicle, even a parked vehicle, so do not consume marijuana in a vehicle or in public.

Do employment or DUI laws change?

marijuana DUIInitiative Petition 1 is explicit that it does not change DUI laws or employment law. The Petition states that it does not allow a person to drive under the influence or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence. The Nevada Legislature may make changes to Nevada’s DUI laws, but this ballot initiative does not. Similarly, the Petition specifically states that it does not prohibit a public or private employer from maintaining, enacting, and enforcing a workplace policy prohibiting or restrictions actions under the Petition. Therefore, the Petition does not change employment allow or prevent employers from prohibiting marijuana use by employees.

Can I get a license for a recreational marijuana facility?

Under Initiative Petition 1, only a “Retail Marijuana Store” may sell marijuana and marijuana products to consumers. The Initiative sets forth how many dispensaries will be permitted in each county. The Initiative also sets forth that there will be marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, and marijuana distributors.

The Department of Taxation will adopt regulations governing the process to apply for a marijuana establishment license and the qualifications for licensure. The Department must adopt those marijuana_extractregulations by January 1, 2018. The Department must begin accepting applications at that time, and must approve or deny the applications within 90 days of receipt. For the first 18 months from the date the Department begins accepting applications, the Department shall only accept licenses for recreational marijuana establishments (product manufacturing facilities, cultivation facilities, and dispensaries) from “persons holding a medical marijuana establishment registration certificate.” Therefore, if you do not hold a medical marijuana establishment registration certificate, you must wait for 18 months after the Department of Taxation begins to accept applications until you may apply to operate a retail marijuana store, cultivation facility, or product manufacturing facility.

As always, I welcome calls from patients and businesses regarding marijuana issues. I am proud of our state and look forward to being involved in shaping the regulatory framework for recreational marijuana. Contact Connor and Connor regarding any questions about marijuana legalization in Nevada.

 

Free Speech

The ability to speak freely without fear of retribution is one of our nation’s founding principles. The founders of our nation believed so strongly in the right to free speech that they included the right to freedom of expression in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, our right to free speech is not unlimited. The classic example used to show the limitation on our right to free speech, is that you cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theater. Your right to free speech is also restricted when it comes to making damaging or untrue statements about someone to a third party. The Internet has given individuals the ability to communicate with millions of people across the world in an instant. While the Internet has helped improve communication between people, it has also brought with it the ability to slander or defame people in front of millions, often times with complete anonymity. However, persons should be aware that making damaging and untrue statements about a person can expose the person making those statements to potential criminal charges, civil law suits, and significant costs.

Libel Laws

In Nevada, these types of crimes, —also known as defamation or slander— fall under “libel.” NRS 200.510 defines libel as “malicious defamation, expressed by printing, writing, signs, pictures or the like, tending to blacken the memory of the dead, or to impeach the honesty, integrity, virtue, or reputation, or to publish the natural defects of a living person or persons, or community of persons, or association of persons, and thereby to expose them to public hatred, contempt or ridicule.” Under the law, those criminally convicted are guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Different Forms of Libel

Libel can come in different forms. As you can see from the statute, the law covers a broad range of areas, like print, signs, and pictures. Suits typically arise from published statements that are false yet widely circulated to cause damage to a reputation. Nowadays, many of these published statements are found on the Internet. While the Internet poses new problems with the law, false statements on the web are still subjected to the law. While libel suits can also arise from oral statements, those are less likely to survive court. Libel can also come from different actors. For example, those who make the false and malicious statements are obviously liable. Even if that person does not publish the information but instead tells a publisher or editor libelous statements, the mere transmittance of those statements can impose liability. However, the editor and publisher (whether a person or corporation) can also be liable if the victim can show there was knowledge of the false statements. Additionally, one who threatens another with publication of libelous statements can also be liable and found guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Proving Defamation

Proving defamation can be difficult. In Nevada, libel is a question of fact often left to a jury. Weighing the evidence, the jury may find the statements true and published in good faith. If so, the party can be acquitted. Filing a civil suit is typically a better bet. Under the civil statutes, NRS 41.332, the victim still must show actual malice, meaning the defendant’s state of mind arose from “hatred or ill will toward the plaintiff and does not include that state of mind occasioned by a good faith belief in the truth of the publication or broadcast.”

Penalties for Libel

There are various penalties involved for those who communicate libelous messages. Criminally, the offender could face up to a year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. In a civil suit, the harmed party can also acquire exemplary, general, and/or special damages. The monetary damages are to offset the costs the harmed party suffered as a result of the libelous statements. The three types of damages are different: exemplary damages are used to set an example and punish the defendant. General damages are damages for loss reputation, shame, and hurt feelings. Special damages are damages for anything lost in regards to the victim’s property, business, or profession. The Court can also order the defendant to print a retraction and correct the false statements. While it may be hard to “un-ring the bell” of untrue statements in the press, imposing monetary damages help deter people from making libelous statements and/or severely punish those who do.

Slander, libel, and defamation are serious issues that should not be taken lightly. If you have been the victim of libelous statements, contact our firm today to discuss your rights. Connor & Connor PLLC, (702) 750-9139 or email us at info@connorpllc.com