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.