On July 1, 2017, Nevada officially became the fifth state in the union to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana. The state is one in which possession of the substance has been legal since the first of the year, but the new freedom to purchase comes with a few regulations. There are only certain locations at which you can legally buy marijuana. There are also somewhat onerous restrictions on where and how Nevada allows you to use it.
If you live in Nevada or are planning a trip to Las Vegas at any time in the future, you may wish to take advantage of these lowered restrictions on the purchase of marijuana. If so, here are ten points to keep in mind.
1. While you can now legally purchase marijuana in Las Vegas and elsewhere in Nevada without a medical card, you can do so only at one of the state’s approved and licensed dispensaries. As of July 2017, the state has provided local permits to 37 markets in Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County. You will find most of them located near the Strip in downtown Vegas. However, within the boundaries of Henderson, it’s a different story. Although five medical marijuana dispensaries do exist there, the city has imposed a six-month moratorium on the substance’s sale.
2. Although your Vegas visit may include a few all-nighters, don’t expect unlimited access to marijuana during that time. State law requires all marijuana dispensaries to shut their doors between 3 and 6 a.m.
3. Unless you possess a medical marijuana card, you’ll have to be an adult of at least 21 years of age to purchase marijuana in Las Vegas or anywhere else in Nevada. Otherwise, it’s just like buying liquor: The dispensaries will insist on seeing your ID.
4. As far as legalities are concerned, the state of Nevada sees no difference between the medical and recreational varieties of marijuana. Nonetheless, when it comes to the price you’ll pay at the register, the equivalency disappears in a hurry. If you can prove that your marijuana needs are medical in nature, you can expect to pay between $30 and $60 for 1/8 of an ounce. When you’re buying it for fun, on the other hand, don’t be surprised to shell out as much as $80 for the same portion in addition to a 10 percent sales tax. If it’s larger quantities you’re after, some dispensaries will have no problem charging $400 or more for a full ounce of the higher-grade non-medical variety.
5. Whether you are a tourist or a resident, Nevada will legally allow you to purchase no more than one full ounce of marijuana or 1/8 ounce of the concentrate. This is equal to the amount that you can legally carry on your person.
6. Don’t expect to be smoking your marijuana on Nevada’s streets. Although Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County have no problem with people who carry and drink publicly from open alcohol containers on the streets or on the Strip, the same does not apply to the use of either medical or recreational marijuana. Nevada has banned the smoking or consumption of marijuana outdoors on the Strip or sidewalk as well as indoors at resorts, casinos or hotel rooms. Nevada also forbids the use of marijuana at concerts and festivals, on federally owned land, in federal housing and even at the dispensary that sold it to you in the first place.
7. Nevada law does allow you to smoke marijuana on your own property. This includes your house, your apartment, your patio or even your driveway, but if the law should catch you stepping one foot off those premises onto the sidewalk or into the street, you could find yourself the subject of a $600 fine.
8. Nevada will allow you to carry marijuana in your car, but neither you nor any of your passengers can legally smoke it there. Furthermore, if you’re already stoned, don’t even think about getting behind the wheel. As far as Nevada law is concerned, driving while high on marijuana is identical to driving under the influence of alcohol or any other drug. If you do decide to take the chance, getting caught could cost you a fine as high as $1,000 along with a suspended license and possible time behind bars.
9. If you’re a Nevada resident, you might consider growing your own marijuana at home. Unfortunately, this is against the rules for anyone who does not possess a medical marijuana card or lives less than 25 miles away from one of the legally authorized medical marijuana facilities. If you meet either of these two requirements and happen to own your own home, Nevada law will allow you to grow as many as six recreational plants per person with a limit of 12 per household. If you rent, you will need your landlord’s permission to grow your own, and whoever you are, the law insists that you keep your pot plants under wraps and out of the view of neighbors or passers-by.
10. The law does not currently protect anyone who chooses to use either medical or recreational marijuana in the workplace. Unless the place at which you work has given you the go-ahead or chosen to look the other way, your employer can punish or fire you for using marijuana openly or testing positive for having done so.
As things currently stand, anyone who happens to be at least 21 years of age and/or in possession of a medical marijuana card can purchase marijuana at one of Nevada’s legal dispensaries. The main restrictions concern growing your own or finding a location at which to use or consume the substance legally.
Don’t expect that you can now visit Las Vegas, treat yourself to an ounce of top-grade marijuana and proceed to smoke it on the street, at a restaurant, in a casino, at a concert or even within the confines of your private hotel room. Although you are free to carry it around in your car, don’t take the chance of smoking it there or of driving under its influence. Above all, remain aware of the current legal limits. It may now be possible for you to purchase marijuana legally in Nevada at an approved dispensary, but you still need to be mindful of how and where you intend to use it.
Nevada’s new freedoms concerning the legal purchase and use of marijuana have raised many questions and uncertainties. If you have found yourself in trouble in Nevada for unwittingly using marijuana on the Las Vegas Strip or anywhere else you shouldn’t, don’t hesitate to contact the criminal defense attorneys at Weiner Law Group. We will be happy to provide any legal assistance you may require.