Nevada Question 2:
Legalization of Recreational Marijuana
Las Vegas drug defense lawyers explain the law

young man rolling a joint

Does Question 2 mean I can buy weed in Nevada now?

In the November 2016 general election, Nevada voters approved Question 2, making it legal for adults aged 21 and over to buy and use recreational marijuana.

The new law – known officially as the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act -- takes effect in Nevada on January 1, 2017.

Until then, it remains unlawful to use or possess weed in Nevada unless you are entitled to do so under Nevada's medical marijuana laws. And it will still be legally to sell pot or to possess marijuana with the intent to sell it unless you have a valid license for selling marijuana issued by the state of Nevada.

To help you better understand how Question 2 changes Nevada marijuana laws, our Las Vegas, Nevada criminal defense lawyers discuss the following, below:

marijuana dispensary

1. How much weed can I legally possess in Nevada?

Beginning on January 1, 2017, Nevada residents aged 21 and older will be able to legally buy and possess:

  • Up to 1 ounce of marijuana, or 
  • Up to one-eighth ounce of concentrated cannabis (also referred to by names such as “wax,” hashish or honey oil).

Possessing more than these amounts will still be illegal under NRS 453.336, Nevada's marijuana possession law.

A first or second violation of NRS 453.336 is a Nevada misdemeanor drug offense, punishable by a fine of up to $600 for a first-time violation or up to $1,000 for a second offense.

2. When will I be able to buy marijuana in Nevada?

While the recreational use of weed by adults will become legal – subject to certain restrictions – on January 1, 2017, there is no one in Nevada yet who can legally sell it to you.

First the state of Nevada has to enact regulations for issuing licenses and for the retail sale of marijuana. The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act requires that the state enact such regulations before January 1, 2018. Once those rules are in place, businesses will have to apply for and be issued a license before they can legally sell weed.

This does not affect the sale of marijuana under NRS 453A, Nevada's medical marijuana law. Medical marijuana users in Nevada can continue to – and will in the future be able to -- purchase and grow weed as they did before voter approval of Question 2.

3. Where can I smoke marijuana in Nevada?

Despite the passage of Question 2, it will still be against the law to use weed:

  • In public (other than in a retail marijuana store, if locally allowed);
  • While driving or otherwise in physical control of any vehicle (including boats and airplanes);
  • At any preschool or K-12 school; or
  • At any Nevada correctional facility – including jails, prisons and juvenile detention centers.

In addition, homeowner's associations will have the right to restrict or prohibit the use of marijuana even in private homes. And employers will still have the right to restrict or prohibit marijuana use in the workplace.

State and local governments also retain the right to prohibit or restrict the use of weed in government buildings or pursuant to local zoning or land use restrictions. And since marijuana is still an illegal controlled substance under United States law, it will remain unlawful to use or possess weed on federal property located in Nevada. Federal property in Nevada includes (without limitation):

  • Post offices, 
  • Federal courthouses, 
  • National parks (including Red Rock National Conservation Area and Lake Mead National Recreation Area), and 
  • Military bases such as Nellis Air Force Base.

4. Can I grow my own marijuana in Nevada?

The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act makes it legal for adults who do not live within 25 miles of a retail marijuana store to grow up to six marijuana plants in an enclosed locked area starting in 2017.

At present, no one in Nevada lives within 25 miles of a retail marijuana store since they do not yet exist. However, as soon as the state of Nevada begins issuing licenses – most likely sometime in 2018 – you will not legally be able to grow marijuana if you live within 25 miles of one.

Otherwise, adults may possess, cultivate, process, or transport up to six marijuana plants provided that:

  • The marijuana is for their personal use;
  • The weed is cultivated on property they own or occupy (or done with the owner or occupant's permission);
  • The area is locked and not visible from a public place;
  • No more than 12 plants are possessed, cultivated, or processed on the grounds of a single residence at one time;
  • No chemical extraction or chemical synthesis is used to manufacture any marijuana; and
  • The marijuana is possessed and used on the premises where it is grown.

Violating these restrictions is a misdemeanor that can result in a fine of:

  • Up to $600 for a first offense;
  • Up to $1,000 for a second offense; or
  • Up to $2,000 for a third offense (which can also be punished by up to one year in jail).

A fourth or subsequent violation is a felony, as is using chemical extraction or synthesis to manufacture marijuana. Either can be punished by one to four years in Nevada state prison.

5. How does Question 2 affect minors?

It is a misdemeanor for a minor to falsely represent him- or herself as 21 or older to obtain marijuana. It will also be a violation of Nevada law punishable by a fine of up to $500 for a minor to enter, loiter, or remain on the premises of a retail marijuana store, unless legally authorized to possess medical marijuana.

For adults, it is a misdemeanor to knowingly give marijuana to, or leave it somewhere for, a minor under 21 unless that minor is a legal medical marijuana user in Nevada. The crime is more serious if the person you give the pot to is under 18. In such case, it is a Nevada gross misdemeanor, with consequences that can include up to one year in jail.

Charged with a marijuana crime in Nevada? Call us for help…

female receptionist wearing headset

If you or someone you know has been arrested for violating Nevada marijuana laws, our caring Las Vegas and Reno marijuana defense lawyers are here to help.

To schedule a free consultation fill out the form on this page or call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673).

One of our experienced Las Vegas or Reno drug defense lawyers will get back to you promptly to help you begin planning the best defense to your Nevada marijuana charges.

We also have lawyers available to help you for a violation of California marijuana laws or Colorado marijuana laws.

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