On November 8, 2016, Nevada voters approved Question 2, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (the “Act”).
Effective January 1, 2017, the Act makes it legal for adults aged 21 and over to buy and use recreational marijuana in Nevada.
Nevada is now one of eight U.S. states in which the recreational use of marijuana by adults is, or will soon be, legal.
The Act also permits 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. There will be an excise tax of 15% on all wholesale marijuana sales, to be paid by licensed cultivators.
When Can I Purchase Recreational Weed in Nevada?
Although Question 2 legalized the recreational use of marijuana by adults (with certain restrictions) as of Jan. 1, 2017, it is likely to be at least another year before anyone can legally sell you weed other than medical marijuana.
The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act requires the state of Nevada to enact regulations for the legal sale of marijuana 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.
In the meantime, however, Nevada medical marijuana users can continue to purchase weed from businesses licensed to sell it. Nothing in Question 2 changed the provisions of NRS 453A, Nevada's medical marijuana law.
How Much Marijuana Can I Possess in Nevada?
Nevada residents aged 21 and older can legally possess for recreational use:
- Up to 1 ounce of marijuana, or
- Up to one-eighth ounce of concentrated cannabis (a/k/a “wax” or hashish).
Except as set forth above, NRS 453.336, Nevada's law on marijuana possession, remains unchanged.
Possessing more marijuana in Nevada than is legally permissible is a misdemeanor. Penalties can include:
- A fine of up to $600 for a first offense, or,
- A fine of up to $1,000 for a second offense.
A third violation of NRS is 453.336 is, however, a Nevada gross misdemeanor that can be (but seldom is) punished by a fine of up to $2,000 and up to one year in jail. A fourth or subsequent violation is a Nevada category E felony. As a felony, the unlawful possession of marijuana carries a possible prison sentence of one to four years.
Where Can I Possess or Use Marijuana in Nevada?
With the passage of Question 2, adults in Nevada may now legally use marijuana in a private home if permitted by the owner. Homeowner's associations may, however, legally limit or prohibit such use.
It is still illegal in Nevada, however, to use weed:
- In public (other than in a retail marijuana store, if locally allowed);
- While driving or in physical control of any vehicle, aircraft, or vessel;
- At any preschool or K-12 school; or
- At any Nevada correctional facility.
Additionally, nothing in Nevada's new recreational marijuana law prohibits employers and governments from prohibiting or restricting marijuana use:
- In the workplace;
- In government buildings; or
- Under local zoning and land use restrictions for marijuana establishments.
Additionally, it is still illegal to possess or use marijuana on federal property located in Nevada (such as courthouses, National Parks, airports or military bases such as Nellis AFB).
How Much Marijuana Can I Legally Grow in Nevada?
Adults who live more than 25 miles from a retail marijuana establishment may possess, cultivate, process, or transport up to six marijuana plants for personal use within a private home in Nevada (with permission of the occupant), as long as:
- The area is locked and not visible from a public place;
- Not more than 12 plants are possessed, cultivated, or processed at or on the grounds of a single residence at one time; and
- No chemical extraction or chemical synthesis is used to manufacture any marijuana.
Violating Nevada's new marijuana cultivation laws can result in penalties of:
A fine of up to $600 for a first offense (misdemeanor);
A fine of up to $1,000 for a second offense (misdemeanor);
A fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to one year in jail for a third offense (gross misdemeanor); or
For a fourth or subsequent offense – or any violation for the use of chemical extraction or synthesis to manufacture marijuana -- one to four years in Nevada state prison as a category E felony.
How Does Question 2 Affect Marijuana Use by Minors?
If you are under 21 years of age, it is a misdemeanor to falsely represent yourself to be 21 or older to obtain marijuana. Simply knowingly entering, loitering, or remaining on the premises of a retail marijuana store (unless you are authorized to possess medical marijuana) can be punished by a fine of up to $500.
Similarly, it is a misdemeanor for an adult to knowingly give marijuana to, or leave it somewhere for, anyone under age 21 unless permitted under Nevada's medical marijuana law. If the person is under 18, it becomes a Nevada gross misdemeanor and carries the possible penalty of up to one year in jail.
Still have questions? Call our Las Vegas or Reno marijuana lawyers.
If you or someone you know has been arrested under Nevada's new recreational marijuana laws, our caring Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada marijuana defense lawyers are here to help. To reach an experienced marijuana attorney call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). We also have lawyers available to help you in California and Colorado.
- The other states legalizing recreational marijuana use in the 2016 general election were California, Maine, and Massachusetts, joining Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Colorado.