"Medical Marijuana" Laws in Nevada
Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys

Although marijuana remains illegal throughout the United States, in 2001 the state instituted the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program (NMMP), whereby ill Nevada residents may apply to use marijuana for medical purposes. Currently, about five hundred and fifty Nevadans benefit from the NMMP. This page is a comprehensive source of information about medical marijuana law in Clark County, Nevada and the NMMP.

If you are in need of criminal defense legal representation here in Las Vegas, contact our Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to schedule a free consultation.

1) How does the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program work?

If your physician determines that you suffer from one of the diseases protected under the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, you may apply to the Nevada State Health Division to register with the program. If the Nevada State Health Division approves your application and you pay the registration fees, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles will issue you a Registry Identification Card. A Registry Identification Card is good for one year, and it allows you to possess up to an ounce of marijuana.

The process of applying for a Registry Identification Card and the strict rules you must abide by for possessing medical marijuana are discussed in detail in the following questions.

2) Can state or local police arrest me for using medical marijuana in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Once the Nevada State Health Division admits you into the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, and as long as you abide by their strict guidelines (discussed in later questions), then neither you nor your caregiver can be prosecuted in Nevada for marijuana possession, cultivation, trafficking, possession of paraphernalia, or aiding and abetting with the possession and production of marijuana. However, if you or your caregiver ever strays from these guidelines, then you may be prosecuted for possession and related crimes. (NRS 453A.200)

Furthermore, being admitted into the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program does not diminish your responsibility to follow public health and safety laws: You may never sail, fly or drive under the influence of medical marijuana, you may never possess a firearm in public under the influence of medical marijuana; and you may not even go on an amusement park ride if you are under the influence of medical marijuana. (NRS 484.379, 488.400, NRS 493.130, NRS 202.257, NRS 455B.080)

3) Can federal authorities arrest me for using medical marijuana in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Yes, but chances are the feds will not come after you. Although the federal government still fails to recognize the legality of medical marijuana programs and may therefore arrest you for possessing medical marijuana in Nevada, no cardholding member of the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program has been arrested yet!

Currently, the Drug Enforcement Administration is focusing its efforts on large-scale drug traffickers, not individuals and their caregivers licensed by their state to use medical marijuana. So as long as the state of Nevada has granted you the right to use medical marijuana, you probably will not face federal prosecution.


US Attorney General Eric Holder discussing federal policy on medical marijuana

4) How do I apply to use medical marijuana in Las Vegas, Nevada?

If your physician recommends that you apply to the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, send a written request to the Nevada State Health Division along with a check or money order for twenty-five dollars ($25) made payable to the Nevada State Health Division. The mailing address for the Nevada State Health Division is:

Nevada State Health Division
4150 Technology Way, Suite 104
Carson City, Nevada 89706

The written request should include:

    Your address (or the address where you want the application mailed to).


    If you have a caregiver, ask for a "caregiver packet."


    If you are requesting an application for another person, include that person's name and address.


    If you are requesting an application for a minor (under age eighteen (18)), ask for a "minor release" form.

Note that people who hold a Commercial Drivers License from any state may not obtain a Nevada Medical Marijuana Card.

You must pay the twenty-five dollars in a one-time payment-the Nevada State Health Division does not accept installment payments. You may not pay with a credit card, either. If you wish to pay the twenty-five dollars in cash, you must do so in person at the William Street address in Carson City.

Once you receive your application in the mail, you and your physician must follow the instructions very carefully. If you do not have a caregiver, write "none" in the space provided.

If you are physically or mentally unable to fill out the application yourself, you may have another person sign for you as long as that person identifies him/herself as your proxy right next to his/her signature on your application and also provides documents proving guardianship or power of attorney.

After you complete the application, be sure to make a copy for your own records. Once you mail back your completed application, you can expect to hear within thirty (30) days whether you have been approved or denied. If you are approved, arrangements will be made to give you a Registry Identification Card, which looks like a drivers license and is your proof of membership in the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program.

Mm-cardholder
Nevada Patient holding Registry Identification Card

It is strongly suggested you consult with a Nevada criminal defense attorney to help fill out your application and to discuss your rights. You can call the Nevada State Health Division at (775) 687-7594 for general questions about the application process. Also check out the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services' flowchart illustrating the Medical Marijuana application process. (NAC 453A.100)

Mm-diseases

5) Do I need a physician to apply to the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program. If so, can the program recommend one to me?

Yes, you need a physician licensed in the state of Nevada to recommend you for the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program and to sign off on your application. The Nevada State Health Division does not make any medical assessments with regard to your application: Only your physician makes the determination whether you suffer from a disease protected under the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program.

And no, you need to find the doctor on your own since the Nevada State Health Division will not refer you to one. Any Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) licensed in Nevada will do.

(You can find a doctor in the Las Vegas Yellow Pages. You can also consult the Las Vegas office of The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation at (702) 202-0249. )

Mm-bodydiagram

6) What medical conditions qualify me for the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program?

As long as you follow the application procedure for the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program (explained above in question 4), you will almost definitely be granted membership if your physician found that you suffer from one or more of the following medical conditions:

  • AIDS
  • cancer
  • glaucoma
  • multiple sclerosis
  • epilepsy
  • any condition that causes muscle spasms, seizures, severe nausea, severe pain, or cachexia (disease-caused weigh loss and malnutrition)

If your medical condition is not listed above but you believe it deserves protection under the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, you may petition Nevada's Department of Health and Human Services by filling out and sending them this form. (The form contains the address to mail it to.) (NRS 453A.050)


Benefits of Medical Marijuana

7) May I have a caregiver to help administer my medical marijuana in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Yes. Each member of the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program can designate one (1) and only one primary caregiver to help administer the medical marijuana.

8) Who can qualify as my designated primary caregiver for the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program?

Your designated primary caregiver can be anybody over the age of eighteen (18) and approved by your physician. However, the designated primary caregiver cannot also be a medical marijuana user. And the designated primary caregiver may have only one (1) medical marijuana patient. (NRS 453A.080, NAC 453A.150)

9) What if I do not have the money to apply to the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program?

Unfortunately, the Nevada State Health Division will not waive your application fee if you cannot afford it, and most health insurance companies will not cover it. You also cannot use your credit card to pay for your application.

However, currently the Marijuana Policy Project helps low-income patients pay for all costs relating to their states' medical marijuana programs. Click here to learn how to apply for financial assistance.

10) May I use medical marijuana in Las Vegas, Nevada, while I am waiting to hear whether my application to the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program has been approved?

Once you apply to the Nevada State Health Division for a medical marijuana card, you may possess medical marijuana in compliance with the program's guidelines pending final approval. If law enforcement questions your right to possess the marijuana, present them with a copy of your application. (NRS 453A.210).

11) If I am approved for the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, is it good for life?

No. If you are accepted into the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, your membership lasts only one (1) year. If you think you will still require medical marijuana for longer than a year, you should reapply before the year is up. You go through the same application procedure as before, except that you do not need to resubmit fingerprints. (NAC 453A.130)

12) Why would my application to the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program be denied?

The most common grounds for the Nevada State Health Division to deny you membership into the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program are the following:

  1. Providing false or incomplete information on your application

  2. Not providing proof of your qualifying medical condition

  3. Not providing proof that you have consulted with your physician about using medical marijuana

  4. If the physician backing your application is not licensed or not in good standing

  5. If you are under eighteen (18) years old and your parent or guardian did not sign the required statement for your application

  6. If you or your designated primary caregiver has ever been convicted of selling drugs

  7. If you or your designated primary caregiver has ever possessed drugs in jail or delivered drugs to someone in jail

  8. If you have failed to follow any other regulations mandated by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services

  9. If the Nevada State Health Division has ever previously prohibited you from ever obtaining a Registry Identification Card.

13) If my application to the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program is denied, may I reapply?

If your application to Nevada's Medical Marijuana Program is denied, you may reapply after six (6) months have passed since the date you were denied. But if your application was denied solely because it was incomplete, you may reapply right away. (NRS 453A.210)

If you are accepted into the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program but your membership is revoked, then you may not reapply for another twelve (12) months. (NRS 453A.225)

To increase your chances of being approved for medical marijuana, strongly consider retaining a Nevada criminal defense attorney to help you with your application.

14) If I am accepted into the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, what are my costs?

If you are accepted into the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, the cost to register is $75.00. They will also instruct you how to get fingerprinted, which may cost up to $20. (You may find fingerprinting locations here.) Finally, you will have to pay the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles for your Registry Identification Card, which may cost up to $22.

Currently, the Marijuana Policy Project aids low-income patients in paying for all these costs. Click here to learn how to apply for financial assistance.

15) If I am accepted into the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, how do I obtain medical marijuana? Can I get a prescription?

As of April 14, 2014, cardholders may legally purchase medical marijuana from a local licensed medical marijuana dispensary that they designated on their application. (Note that cardholders may change designated dispensaries no more than once every thirty days. Furthermore, they must inform the Nevada State Health Division in order to get permission to change dispensaries.)

If you do not have any local dispensaries to buy from, you may be able to cultivate your own medical marijuana. See question 17 for more details.

Note that Nevada imposes a two percent (2%) excise tax on each wholesale or retail sale of marijuana and marijuana products. This tax applies regardless of whether the purchaser is a medical marijuana establishment or a patient cardholder. Note that this tax is in addition to any applicable state and local and use taxes.

16) How much marijuana does Nevada's Medical Marijuana Program entitle me to possess?

If you are accepted into the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, you and your designated primary caregiver (if you have one) may possess up to two and one-half ounces of of usable marijuana total in any 14-day period--you cannot each possess two and one-half ounces of marijuana. (NRS 453A.200) Usable marijuana usually refers to seeds, dried leaves and buds, or any kind that is immediately ready to be smoked. Usable marijuana does not include the stalks and roots of the plant. (NRS 453A.160)

If a dispensary is not available to sell you medical marijuana, you may be able to grow and cultivate your own with permission of the Nevada State Health Division. (See question 17 for more details). In that case, you and your caregiver may also together possess up to twelve marijuana plants irrespective of whether they are mature or immature. (NAC 453A.080)

Note that the patient and caregiver must keep the marijuana in a secure, enclosed location.

Also note that it is a category E felony in Nevada to possess more than 12 marijuana plants, carrying up to four years in prison and maybe a $5,000 fine. For a first offense, judges may impose probation instead.

17) Does the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program entitle me to grow marijuana in Las Vegas, Nevada? And if so, how much?

It depends. Once a licensed medical marijuana dispensary opens in the county where a cardholder or his/her primary caregiver lives, they may not not grow marijuana unless:

  • the dispensary is unable to supply enough marijuana to the cardholder, or
  • the cardholder is unable to reasonably travel to the dispensary due to illness or lack of transportation, or
  • there was no dispensary within 25 miles of where the cardholder lives at the time he/she applied for the card

For more information on Nevada marijuana cultivation laws, see our page on Nevada marijuana cultivation laws.

    18) If I apply to the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, does my information remain private?

    Yes. The Nevada State Health Division maintains the confidentiality of all applicants to the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, including the identity of the medical marijuana user, the user's designated primary caregiver, and the user's physician.

    However, if state or local law enforcement ever questions your lawfulness in possessing medical marijuana, the Department of Health and Human Services may release your information to them to verify whether you are registered with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program.

    19) What changes in my life do I have to notify the Nevada State Health Division about once I am registered with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program?

    If you are a patient registered with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, it is your responsibility to report the following changes to the Nevada State Health Division within seven (7) days of the change:

    • your change of address or phone number

    • your change in medical status

    • if you have received new criminal convictions

    • if you have changed your designated primary caregiver, or if you no longer have a caregiver

    If you are a designated primary caregiver registered with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, it is your responsibility to report the following changes to the Nevada State Health Division within seven (7) days of the change:

    • your change of address or phone number

    • your patient's change in medical status

    • if you have received new criminal convictions

    • if your patient dies

    • if you are no longer the patient's designated primary caregiver

    You may mail in the changes, fax in the changes, or bring the changes in person to:

    The Nevada State Health Division
    4150 Technology Way, Suite 104
    Carson City, Nevada 89706
    Fax: (775) 687-7595

    The office's hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Once the Nevada State Health Division receives your changes, they will mail you a written confirmation. If you have changed caregivers, then you must return the old caregiver card within seven (7) days of this confirmation. If you do not inform the Nevada State Health Division of these changes, you may face civil and criminal penalties, and you may be disqualified from the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program.

    If you have further questions, you can call the Nevada State Health Division at (775) 687-7594.

    20) May minors apply to the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program?

    Yes. Minors under eighteen (18) suffering from the chronic or debilitating diseases listed in question 6 are just as eligible for a Registry Identification Card as are adults suffering from the same ailments. The only difference is that the minor's custodial parent or guardian must sign a "minor release" form in his/her application, and that custodial parent or guardian must act as the minor's designated primary caregiver.

    Instructions for obtaining an application for Nevada's Medical Marijuana Program as well as a "minor release" form are explained in question 4.

    21) Does Nevada recognize non-resident medical marijuana users?

    Yes. Out-of-state residents may obtain medical marijuana in Nevada under the following conditions:

    • The non-resident has a valid, non-expired medical marijuana card from his/her home state, and
    • The non-resident's home state exempts cardholders from criminal prosecution for medical marijuana use, and
    • The law of the non-resident's home state requires that physicians advise patients that medical marijuana use may help their symptoms as a precondition to the state issuing patients a medical marijuana card, and
    • The non-resident's home state maintains a database through which Nevada authorities may verify his/her card's validity. (NRS 372A)

    Note that the non-resident must abide by Nevada's rules regarding quotas for possessing medical marijuana. it is irrelevant whether his/her home state allows cardholders to possess more medical marijuana than Nevada does.

    22) Do other states recognize medical marijuana users from Nevada?

    No, with the exception of Montana and Rhode Island. If you are a cardholding member of the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, whether you may bring marijuana to another state or possess it in another state depends on that state's laws. At this time, only Montana and Rhode Island recognizes cardholding medical marijuana users from other states. Consult with a criminal defense attorney in the state to which you are traveling to learn your legal rights.


    Barack Obama on Medical Marijuana

    23) Are all my caregivers protected from prosecution if I am accepted into the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program?

    No. You may designate only one (1) primary caregiver in your application for the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, and this caregiver is the only other person besides yourself who may produce and possess the medical marijuana. (When you request an application to the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, be sure to ask for a "caregiver packet," as explained in question 4.)

    24) May one person serve as a caregiver to more than one medical marijuana users in Clark County, Nevada?

    No. In the same way that a medical marijuana cardholder may designate only one primary caregiver to produce or possess medical marijuana, a caregiver may not take on medical marijuana duties for more than one patient at a time.

    Mm-smoker
    Patient using Medical Marijuana

    25) May a designated primary caregiver get paid for administering medical marijuana in Nevada?

    No. A caregiver may not charge money or any other form of payment for the service of producing or possessing medical marijuana. If the caregiver does charge, then he/she can be charged with the Nevada crime of marijuana sales. (NRS 453A.300)

    26) Should I tell my employer if I am registered with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program?

    You should consult an attorney to advise whether you should inform your employer if you are registered with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program. If you wish to have the Nevada State Health Division inform your employer on your behalf, you can contact them in writing at:

    The Nevada State Health Division
    4150 Technology Way, Suite 104
    Carson City, Nevada 89706
    Fax: (775) 687-7595

    27) Are Nevada employers required to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in the workplace?

    Employers are required accommodate employees who are medical marijuana cardholders as long as the following are true:

    • the accommodations would not endanger anyone or anything, and
    • the accommodations would not impose an undue hardship on the employer, and
    • the accommodations would not preclude the employee from fulfilling his/her duties (NRS 453A.800)

    28) If I am renting my home or live in subsidized housing in Las Vegas, Nevada, do I have to tell my landlord that I am in the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program?

    there is no law requiring you to inform your landlord if you are a legal medical marijuana user. However, since marijuana is an illegal drug, your landlord may try to evict you if you are found out. Consult with a criminal defense attorney to discuss your rights and protections.

    29) Does my medical insurance cover medical marijuana in Las Vegas, Nevada?

    Probably not. But check with your individual insurance company to make sure. Since marijuana is still considered an illegal drug in the United States, unfortunately medical insurers are not lawfully required to pay or reimburse you for any costs associated with medical marijuana.

    30) Are doctors who recommend the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program to their patients protected from disciplinary action in Clark County, Nevada?

    Yes. The Nevada Board of Medical Examiners cannot take disciplinary action against a physician merely for advising a patient about medical marijuana.

    31) May I share my medical marijuana with other cardholders in the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program?

    Yes. If you are registered with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, you may share your medical marijuana with other cardholding members of the Nevada Medical Marijuana program as long as no money or other payment is exchanged for it. If you do sell marijuana to other cardholders for money, you can be arrested for the Nevada crime of marijuana sales. (NRS 453A.300)

    32) What if authorities catch me or my designated primary caregiver in possession of medical marijuana and we are not carrying our Registry Identification Cards?

    If you or your designated primary caregiver are found in possession of marijuana but are not carrying your Registry Identification Cards, you might be arrested. However, the case should be dismissed as long as you can show that you are registered with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program and you are otherwise in compliance with the law.

    33) Can I get in trouble for being near someone who is legally using medical marijuana?

    No. You cannot be prosecuted for constructive possession, conspiracy or related criminal offenses merely for being in the vicinity of a cardholding medical marijuana user. But be careful. If you are at a location where the Las Vegas police seize marijuana or other drugs, they could mistakenly allege that these items belong to you.

    34) May I smoke medical marijuana in public if I am registered with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program?

    No. If you are registered with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, you may not possess or use your medical marijuana in a public space or in public view. (NRS 453A.300)

    35) May I sell my medical marijuana to others if I am registered with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program?

    No. If you are registered with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, you may not sell your medical marijuana to anyone. You may not sell it to other members of the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program either. If you do, you can be arrested for the Nevada crime of marijuana sales. (NRS 453A.300)

    36) What should I do if I lose my Registry Identification Card?

    If you are registered with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program and you lose your Registry Identification Card, call the Nevada State Health Division at (775) 687-7594 right away.

    37) How can I withdraw from the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program?

    If you are registered with the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program and wish to withdraw, you must mail the Nevada State Health Division the following items:

    1. a letter informing them of your wish to withdraw
    2. your Registry Identification Card
    3. if you have a designated primary caregiver, his/her Registry Identification Card

    Use the following mailing address:

    The Nevada State Health Division
    4150 Technology Way, Suite 104
    Carson City, Nevada 89706

    Once the Nevada State Health Division receives your letter, they will write back a confirmation that you are no longer registered with the program. It is your responsibility to inform your designated primary caregiver that you are withdrawing. If you are not on good terms with your designated primary caregiver, you can ask the Nevada State Health Division to write them a letter asking they return their card.

    After you withdraw from the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, you can always reapply.

    38) What other states have medical marijuana programs?

    Other states that have medical marijuana programs (which may be very different than Nevada's) are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

    Mm-states

    39) What is the penalty for forging a medical marijuana card?

    Forging, faking our otherwise counterfeiting a registry identification card for medical marijuana is a category E felony in Nevada The penalty includes one to four years in prison and possibly up to $5,000 in fines. However, judges typically impose only probation for a first-time offender.

    If you are in need of criminal defense legal representation here in Las Vegas, contact our Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to schedule a free consultation.

    For information on how to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Nevada, go to our informational article on how to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Nevada.

    To learn about California medical marijuana laws, go to our information page on California medical marijuana laws & The Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

    For more information see our articles on marijuana possession, cultivation, trafficking, possession of paraphernalia, drive under the influence of medical marijuana, firearm, possession, and conspiracy.

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