Marijuana is a popular drug; in fact, it is the most commonly used “illegal” drug in the world. While most people are aware that consuming marijuana has intoxicating effects, not many people know why. Everyone has heard of getting high, stoned, baked, etc. But what chemicals actually produce this feeling? When it comes to marijuana there is a common misunderstanding pertaining to what actually gets you high. With the progression of the times and marijuana becoming legal for medicinal purposes in about half of the United States and legal recreationally in a number of states such as Nevada, it is important to understand the scientific intricacies of cannabis.
How the Chemicals in Marijuana Affect Your Body
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are both natural elements found in the cannabis plant, and although these elements are chemically similar, their impact on the consumer is much different. To to put it simply, THC is psychoactive and CBD is not. The reason for the dissimilarity relating to these elements’ interaction with the user’s body is due to cannabinoid 1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system. THC binds well with the cannabinoid 1 receptor, while CBD doesn’t stick as effectively. Because the THC molecule fits perfectly into cannabinoid receptor, the cannabinoid activates and directly stimulates the body, causing the intoxicating effect of marijuana. Whereas CBD actually blocks the high associated with THC and has a plethora of medicinal purposes.
THC stimulates the brain and releases dopamine, which leads to feelings of euphoria. THC can cause sedation, psychomotor impairment, and alter thought processes. Due to the some of the unwanted side effects from THC such as anxiety, increased heart rate, and impaired motor skills, THC has gotten the label of being the bad cannabinoid. However, it has medical applications as well. THC is effective in treating side effects from chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma, just to name a few. While THC does have some medical benefits, the primary function of THC is producing characteristics that we classify as the “high,” CBD outperforms THC medically.
CBD reduces the effects of THC on the body. Namely, it reduces anxiety and serves as an antipsychotic. Further, CBD is used to treat inflammation, pain, epilepsy, infections, intestinal issues, and much more. Essentially, CBD is relaxation without the feeling of intoxication. However, due to the non-psychoactive effects of CBD, historically, marijuana growers were not focused on producing a plant with high levels of CBD. Recently, there has been a CBD movement in America as our understanding of the benefits of CBD constantly increase. The therapeutic value of CBD is almost unbelievable. For decades, outdated laws have banned a plant that produces what may become one of the most important medicines for modern disease.
The Future of Medicinal Marijuana
As marijuana steadily becomes more accepted legally and socially, more refined studies and research emerge. However, strict federal restrictions on marijuana restrict full exploration into the benefits of CBD. There is tremendous potential for medical marijuana to become a major source of relief for thousands of people suffering from numerous issues. Medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries are required to disclose the composition of the marijuana that they grow and sell. With the increase in the accuracy from seed to sale, due to strict regulations, there could be a future where marijuana can solve more problems than ever imagined. However, until we overcome all legal and political obstacles, we may never know the full potential of utilizing marijuana as medicine.
Existing law imposes a 2% tax upon each wholesale sale of marijuana by a cultivation facility. SB 487 increases the tax on wholesale marijuana for medical use by a cultivation facility to 15%. Because SB 487 changes the tax on medical marijuana to align with the 15% wholesale tax on recreational marijuana cultivators, businesses do not have to separate medical and recreational plants. Further, this bill abolishes the tax on sales by a facility for the production of edible marijuana products or marijuana-infused products.
What Does SB 487 Do?
Essentially, this bill removes the 2% excise tax at each stage (Cultivation → (2%)Production → (2%)Distribution → (2%) Consumer) and imposes a flat 15% wholesale tax on cultivators. Additionally, it imposes an excise tax of 10% on retail marijuana store sales.
Where Will the Revenue from Marijuana Go?
The bill originally proposed that the revenue from recreational marijuana sales go to Nevada’s public education fund. However, the revenue will go to the state’s rainy day fund. This way no programs or funding would be reliant upon revenue that is prediction based, at this point. Additionally, lawmakers would have limited access to the funds until 2019, so there will be almost two years of untouched revenues to analyze before lawmakers decide how to allocate the revenue. This bill also deems $5,000,000 from the excise taxes each fiscal year to be sufficient to cover the costs of local governments for regulating the sale of any type of marijuana.
How Will SB 487 Affect Medical Marijuana Registration Certificates?
This bill allows the Department of Taxation to accept applications for medical marijuana registration certificates if: 1) if the application is accompanied by a letter from the incorporated city endorsing the issuance of the certificate; and 2) the applicant already holds a medical marijuana establishment registration certificate, unless no medical marijuana establishment certificate has been issued to a medical marijuana dispensary located in the incorporated city (on or before December 31, 2018). The Department shall issue one medical cultivation and one medical production certificate in each county. The Department is limited to 10 days per year to accept applications to operate medical marijuana establishments.
Each cultivation, production, and dispensary facility must submit a report to the Department that includes certain data, reported separately for each month.
These provisions became effective July 1, 2017.
SB344 was recently passed in Nevada. In general, the contents of the bill covers packaging, labeling, and advertising requirements for medical and recreational marijuana with a focus on edible packaging and other miscellaneous dispensary and production requirements. The main emphasis of the bill is to make edible marijuana products less attractive to children. Specifically, all marijuana products must clearly state that they are marijuana products in bold type, say “keep out of reach of children,” and cannot be packaged in anyway that might be appealing to children.
Which Marijuana Products Will SB344 Prohibit?
For example, there can be no cartoons, toys, mascots, or any type of design that resembles a current children’s product on the packaging, which additionally, must be packaged in opaque child resistant packaging. Further, there can be no lollipops, ice cream, or fruit snacks available for sale because of the increased likelihood that a child would get their hands on these types of products.
How SB344 Keeps Marijuana Products Away From Children
The bill then goes into other specific details that entail health requirements such as separate hand washing stations and disclosures that marijuana could be dangerous to children, and have a greater effect on people who are pregnant, using alcohol, or other prescription drugs. Additionally, the bill gives dosage limits for all products containing THC. The bill requires dispensaries to make storage containers available for purchase; again, this is to help prevent children from accessing any type of marijuana product.
What is the Point of SB344?
The main point of SB344 is to set clear safety requirements for the use of marijuana, specifically, to protect children from getting their hands on marijuana products that will now be more readily available. These provisions were supposed to become effective October 1, 2020. However, the Department of Taxation is set to implement the more important safety regulations of this bill to coincide with the July 1st early start date.
Within the last year, Nevada has acquired two professional sports teams and legalized the recreational use of marijuana. While the reaction to the new sports market has been mostly positive, the same does not apply regarding the legalization of marijuana. Let’s take a look at the history of marijuana in Nevada.
Marijuana in Nevada
Marijuana has long been a controversial topic for Nevadans. It was first banned in 1923 as part of a nationwide effort to limit the use of Cannabis during the prohibition era.
Nearly 75 years later, in 1998, the Nevada Medical Marijuana act (Question 9) passed with a 59% approval. However, the initiative required approval in consecutive elections because it was an amendment to the state constitution. The legislation passed for a second time in 2000, with 65% of the vote. The Nevada Medical Marijuana act provided that patients may possess a maximum of 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis as well as an amount of edible or infused products which are the “equivalent” of 2 ½ ounces of usable marijuana and grow a maximum of 12 usable cannabis plants. Cannabis was being tested and used to treat conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Cancer, Auto Immune Diseases, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. The approval of using Marijuana to treat these conditions was a major step forward, both medically and socially. While it was apparent that Nevadans understood the medical benefits of marijuana, the Nevada Medical Marijuana act failed to address how one would legally obtain medical cannabis.
History of Recreational Marijuana in Nevada
In 2002, Question 9 went before the voters with a proposal to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis, but was defeated at the polls. Legalized marijuana appeared on the ballot again in 2006 as the “Nevada Regulation of Marijuana Initiative.” The act posed the question of whether the Nevada Revised Statutes would be amended to allow and regulate the sale, use and possession of one ounce or less of marijuana by persons at least 21 years of age, and impose regulations on marijuana retailers. It also questioned whether criminal penalties for causing death or substantial bodily harm when driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol would be considered. However, the initiative received only 44% of the vote, thus it failed.
Medical Marijuana Approval
In 2013, more than a decade after voters approved the Nevada medical marijuana act, the Nevada Legislature finally allowed for the sale of and regulated access to medical cannabis. The Nevada Senate approved a bill, which allowed the licensing of non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries and made it legal to sell, grow, test, and tax marijuana.
The first medical marijuana facility in Nevada opened in Sparks on July 31, 2015. There are now more than 190 operating medical marijuana facilities in the state. In November 2016, Nevada voters narrowly approved the “Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana” making it one of eight states to have legalized the recreational use of cannabis. The measure legalized possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. However, the initiative did not include provisions for regulation beyond taxation, such as licensing retailers.
Recreational Marijuana Early Start Program
As of May 2017, Nevada has approved the “Early Start Program” which will allow for operational medical marijuana facilities in good standing to apply for a recreational license. On July 1st, eligible Nevada dispensaries can begin selling to adults 21 and over. The tax revenues from marijuana sales will be enormous for Nevada’s economy. Additionally, Governor Sandoval plans on applying the revenue from marijuana taxes to fund public education.
After almost a century of prohibition and controversy, Nevada legislation will finally lift the ban on the recreational use of marijuana. Nevada lawmakers are optimistic that the implementation of the new cannabis laws will prove to be profitable.
Last November, Nevadans voted yes on Question 2 to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The ballot required the state to begin sales by January 1, 2018, but recently the Nevada Tax Commission approved temporary regulations that would allow businesses launch as early as July 1, 2017. The “early start” program’s proponents cite that there is a discrepancy in the new law because it is currently legal to possess marijuana, but not to purchase or sell marijuana. This has lead to an increase in sales by local black market dealers. Additionally, Nevada is depending on the estimated $70 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales to help fund public education, which we desperately need.
Who Will Be Allowed to Sell Marijuana for Recreational Use?
The only businesses eligible to participate in the early start program for recreational sale must already be established as medical marijuana facilities. The application period will begin in the middle of May and conclude at the end of the month. There will also be another short (5 day) application period that will take place later in the year. Nearly all of Nevada’s current 190 marijuana license holders are in good standing and are eligible to apply for a recreational license.
How Dispensaries Apply for a License
Applicants must pay a one-time, nonrefundable application fee of $5,000 plus a license fee of $20,000 for a retail store, $30,000 for a cultivation facility, $10,000 for a production and manufacturing facility, $15,000 for a testing facility and $15,000 for a marijuana distributor. Additionally, for the first 18 months of applications, only registered medical marijuana businesses can be accepted. Licenses that are issued during the early start period will only be valid until 90 after January 1, 2018.
What Does This Mean for Nevada?
The recreational marijuana industry is a huge opportunity, primarily for Las Vegas, to grow. In addition to the millions of dollars in tax revenue that the sale of recreational marijuana will provide, it will also increase tourism, as Nevada is now one of only eight states to have legal recreational marijuana use. New businesses mean more businesses, more businesses means more jobs, and more jobs means more money for the economy. Further, the regulation of the recreational marijuana industry will allow users easy access to medically tested and approved products while limiting the expansion of the black market which could lead to a reduction in drug related violence. It is an exciting time to be living in the entertainment capital of the world.
Recreational marijuana is now legal in Nevada, but expect plenty of catches, especially at first.
On November 8, 2016, Nevadans approved “Question 2” on their ballot by a margin of nine percent, effectively removing criminal penalties for possession of certain moderate amounts of marijuana and marijuana-derived concentrates. Yet, the legal ramifications of this development are far from cut-and-dry.
For one, Nevadans who do not currently have a prescription card for medical marijuana have no legal way to buy recreational marijuana at the moment. This issue and many others will make marijuana laws complicated for those who enjoy recreational smoking, especially in the immediate future.
To help clear some things up and make it easier for aspiring recreational marijuana users to know their rights, consider the following four important points about the New Nevada marijuana law.
You Can Only Possess a Certain Amount of Marijuana at a Time
The current cap is on an ounce of cured marijuana plant products or an eighth of an ounce of marijuana concentrate, like hash oil or “shatter.” Anyone found with amounts in excess of these limits on their person or within their private property may be subject to criminal penalties.
Only those 21 and older can legally possess marijuana.
You Can’t Buy Marijuana at Dispensaries Without an MMJ Card (Yet)
On January 1, 2017, the criminal penalties for holding certain amounts of marijuana products (see above) were relaxed. However, no one can legally sell you marijuana unless you have a prescription card. Legislators set themselves a deadline of January 1, 2018 to have regulations in place that should allow dispensaries to expand their clientele to non-MMJ card holders.
Many experts estimate that you could be able to buy marijuana recreationally by summer 2017.
Once medical dispensaries have their operations opened to all marijuana users, the state will then open the door to give licenses for dispensaries that did not exist before the new marijuana law went into effect. Expect a long process for regulations to be drafted and finalized, though.
You Cannot Grow Your Own Marijuana Unless You Live in a Rural Area
The new law permits growing your own marijuana only if you live more than 25 miles away from a marijuana dispensary. So, unless you live in rural areas, you are going to have to wait for regulations to allow medical dispensaries to expand their clientele.
For those who do live far away from a dispensary: the law allows up to six plants per person or 12 plants total per residence. And, naturally, selling the yield from these plants without a commercial license would be a felony. You can, however, give marijuana away as a gift to someone over 21 as long as they do not end up possessing more than the total legal limit.
You Cannot Drive Intoxicated or Smoke in Public
Driving while under the effects of marijuana, which can last up to a few hours, is still illegal and can potentially affect the outcome of criminal cases or insurance settlements if you are caught driving with a high concentration of THC in your system.
Smoking marijuana in public is likewise banned and can incur up to $600 in criminal fines. You also cannot smoke in a moving vehicle, even if you will not be driving.
Some expect smoking “cafes” to expand the ability to smoke in public to certain designated businesses, similar to a hookah lounge.
Nevada Marijuana Laws Are Only Going to Get More Complicated
Believe it or not, decriminalization does not automatically make life easier for marijuana users. Just as legal alcohol use can create many legal gray areas, those who use marijuana recreationally may find themselves subject to criminal or civil consequences if they do not maintain awareness of their rights and limitations.
If you face consequences for your marijuana use, never hesitate to exercise your rights. Consider appointing a knowledgeable Nevada marijuana law attorney to represent your case so that you can assert your side of the story and protect your legal rights as a citizen. Contact us now for a free consultation.
Transferring ownership of a business license and business holdings almost always presents challenges to both the buyer and seller. When adding medical marijuana operations, one of the most heavily regulated industries in the state, into the mix, those challenges can become infinitely more complicated.
Luckily, these buyers and sellers can look to the services of an experienced medical marijuana business attorney to guide their sale and potentially smooth over any hitches they would have faced. More often than not, these parties will require that attorney’s representation throughout the entire process in order to satisfy and convince local hearings boards in regards to their intended activities.
Because of these potential obstacles, marijuana business license transfers could face any of the following complications before the sale is finalized:
Convincing Approval Committees
Most likely in an effort to appease local communities, the Nevada State Legislature baked in a tremendous amount of power for local cities and counties when it comes to approval of marijuana licenses, including their transferal.
For example, we wrote in a previous post that an existing medical marijuana business can only move to a new location if “it can be shown that the new location is more suitable than the previous location” to the satisfaction of the local approval committee.
Furthermore, cities like North Las Vegas utilize language in their regulatory ordinances stating that the laws will be construed to “protect the public over medical marijuana business interests.”
Therefore, in this one example we have two extremely subjective criteria for a business owner to get approval for transferring just their location, let alone transferring their license in the process. Questions can arise, like: does the new location have to be “more suitable” to the public, the business or both? If the city feels that an MME’s activity is not in the public’s interest, what sort of burden of proof does the business have to satisfy in order to get approval?
Since each individual committee has immense final decision power and each decision will involve a host of unique subjective factors, every attempted approval should be guided with the assistance of a medical marijuana business lawyer in order to ease the process.
When medical marijuana business owners request to transfer ownership, the new recipient of the license must undergo the same application process as the initial owner’s. Nevada state laws also provide that a local board may “deem a medical marijuana establishment in compliance with all local governmental ordinances or rules, regardless of any ranking of the establishment established by the Division.”
In this situation where a local board holds the power to interpret laws, challenges the initial application did not endure could arise. Suddenly, the meaning of past decisions could be called into question, and the new owner could face challenges given their unique standing.
For instance, SB 276 limits a group, person or entity to ownership of one marijuana establishment registration license in the area. Therefore, if a privately held company had a large stakeholder that separately held an individual license in the same area, could the local approval committee interpret this as one person owning multiple establishments?
Legal questions like these are infinitely complex and subject to the extent of debate allowed on the matter. As more of these debates occur, case law and precedent could introduce further complexities.
You can navigate these difficulties with the assistance of a Nevada medical marijuana business attorney, who will lend clarity and represent your case to the best of their ability.
Anyone attempting to buy or sell a medical marijuana license in Nevada can contact Connor & Connor for representation and answers to their pressing questions.
In an unexpected announcement on December 14, 2016, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has released a new ruling on “Marihuana Extract” products and given them a new Administration Controlled Substances Code Number, effectively making them illegal under federal law (The DEA gave no explanation as to their archaic and unorthodox spelling of “marijuana”).
This ruling affects any and all extracts of marijuana plants, including cannabidiol extracts, known as “CBD” products on the market. It will devastate the CBD extract industry, which was valued at $65 million in 2015 according to one estimate, and potentially rob thousands of patients with conditions ranging from fibromyalgia, PTSD, chronic inflammation, AIDS and cancer the medicine they need to reduce painful symptoms and enhance their well-being.
Some in the legal field are already alleging that a unilateral ruling such as this one oversteps the authority of the DEA by circumventing congress, and they also voice concerns that the ruling may needlessly affect industrial hemp products, which contain only trace amounts of THC and are largely used in textiles and other materials manufacturing.
We want to assure our clients and any concerned readers that we are currently looking into the issue and will join other attorneys in litigation pushing back against such actions if we are able to deem that they run contrary to other federal laws, state laws and prior court rulings.
Why the DEA CBD Ruling Made CBD Illegal
One of the most concerning aspects of this new “Final Ruling” lies in the fact that it encompasses CBD extracts along with other products that may contain low or no quantities of THC, marijuana’s main psychoactive component.
The DEA issued the following response to such comments:
For practical purposes, all extracts that contain CBD will also contain at least small amounts of other cannabinoids. However, if it were possible to produce from the cannabis plant an extract that contained only CBD and no other cannabinoids, such an extract would fall within the new drug code 7350. In view of this comment, the regulatory text accompanying new drug code 7350 has been modified slightly to make clear that it includes cannabis extracts that contain only one cannabinoid.
In other words, the DEA asserts that all CBD extracts fall under this new drug code and ruling because they inevitably contain some amount of other cannabinoids. They even go so far as to state that if such were not the case, the new drug code still encompasses a hypothetically “pure” CBD product.
Contradictions and Ramifications with State Laws
Currently, 28 states have medical cannabis laws, and eight passed adult use laws during the most recent November election. Most if not all of these laws run contrary to federal policies that state that medical marijuana is a schedule I substance, meaning that in the federal government’s opinion it has no accepted medical use and can be addicting.
Since many state legislators and electors resoundingly disagree with this opinion — likely including the million-plus medical marijuana patients nationwide — marijuana attorneys representing patients and businesses will be closely examining the legal ramifications of the ruling and likely challenging it in the near future.
If you own a medical marijuana business or are a medical marijuana patient who wants to fight for your right to doctor-approved medicine, then you do not have to take the DEA’s unilateral ruling lying down. Call the offices of our Nevada medical marijuana lawyers using the phone number you see above or contact us online today to defend your rights and examine every legal avenue you have against the DEA’s recent actions.
Although marijuana remains illegal under federal law, some states, such as Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Nevada have legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Other states such as Arizona, have legalized marijuana only for medical purposes. The patchwork of laws may leave people with questions regarding when and where they can purchase marijuana. The following is meant to provide you with a basic overview of the differing marijuana laws in the United States, if you have any specific questions regarding the marijuana laws in your state, or a state where you may be traveling, we suggest consulting with an attorney before you take any action that could affect your legal rights.
How Do You Buy Marijuana in States Where it’s Legal?
States that allow for the recreational use of marijuana typically do not require anything other than a photo identification card to purchase marijuana. States that have only legalized medical marijuana typically require marijuana patients to acquire approval from a physician and a state issued patient identification card prior to buying marijuana. Most states require the patient to be a resident of that state and most states do not have reciprocity with other states. Thus, a patient from Colorado typically cannot buy marijuana from a medical dispensary in a state like Arizona. Nevada does have full reciprocity with nonresident patient cardholders. Therefore, a patient cardholder from a state like Colorado can legally purchase from a dispensary in Nevada.
In states where marijuana is legal, patients and recreational users are generally required to purchase their marijuana from a state-licensed dispensary, while some states still allow for home cultivation. Most dispensaries carry a wide variety of strains and other products containing marijuana such as, edibles, oils, or tinctures. Most dispensaries require proper identification and limit patients or recreational users to the amounts that they are legally allowed to possess under that jurisdiction’s laws. For example, in Nevada a medical patient may not purchase or possess greater than two and one half ounces of marijuana at a time.
Each state has taken its own approach to marijuana legalization. Patients and users are strongly advised to familiarize themselves with local marijuana laws before attempting to use or possess marijuana.
Connor & Connor
Our law firm is dedicated to helping those with questions about medicinal or recreational usage in the state of Nevada. If you have questions regarding marijuana laws, contact the Connor & Connor law firm today.
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?
Initiative 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?
The 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?
Initiative 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.
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?
Initiative 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 regulations 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.