Yes. Buying substances you believe are illegal drugs is a crime in Nevada notwithstanding whether the drugs turn out to be fake.
Nevada courts see several cases where tourists unknowingly purchase imitation drugs. Often these people are not regular users and are unfamiliar with what drugs look like, so dealers opt to save money by selling them imitations. Furthermore, dealers caught selling imitation drugs face lower penalties than if they sold actual drugs.
The fake drugs dealers sell are typically comprised of common household items such as flour, talcum powder, or tobacco but are packaged in baggies or containers to make them look like illegal drugs. The penalty for buying or possessing imitation drugs for personal use in Nevada depend on the defendant's criminal history. A first- or second-time conviction is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:
- up to 364 days in jail; and/or
- up to $2,000 in fines.
But a successive conviction of using or possessing imitation drugs for personal use is a category C felony in Nevada, carrying:
- 1 - 5 years in prison; and
- maybe $5,000 in fines
In Nevada, buying or possessing imitation drugs for personal use actually carries more stringent penalties than selling or making imitation drugs. For more information on Nevada "imitation drug" laws, read our article on Nevada "imitation drug" laws.