Nevada law permits people to use marijuana for recreational and medical purposes. But those statutes will not automatically give you a foolproof defense if you are arrested for marijuana possession in Las Vegas.
The city may have a reputation for wild partying, but it’s also home to law enforcement officials who take a hard stance against illegal drug use. Understanding the finer points of Nevada’s marijuana laws can help avoid an arrest for a drug-related offense.
If you’re already facing a marijuana drug charge in Las Vegas, it’s important to talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Even though marijuana laws are relaxing nationwide, it is still considered a Schedule I substance in federal jurisdictions alongside “hard drugs” like heroin or methamphetamine. A conviction can tarnish your personal and professional record and limit future opportunities.
At the Law Office of Joel M. Mann, we provide a vigorous defense for people who are charged with marijuana-related crimes. It is possible to have marijuana charges reduced or dismissed entirely in Clark County Court and to have your criminal record sealed after a period of time. But it’s important to begin building your defense as soon as possible to protect evidence and ensure that your memory of the events leading up to your arrest is fresh.
Call us or contact us online now to arrange a free consultation.
Is Marijuana Legal in Las Vegas?
It can be confusing for people to hear that marijuana is legal in Nevada and then end up arrested for possession. Nevada law NRS 453D legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes in 2016. But it’s is a misconception to think that you can walk down The Strip smoking a joint like a cigarette.
The law spells out who can use the drug, where it can be used, and how much can be purchased or grown. The penalties for violations can range from fines and jail time to even lifetime incarceration for those convicted of drug trafficking. Nevada also allows the use of medical marijuana, as long as the person has a proper identification card.
To legally use, purchase or cultivate marijuana in Las Vegas, you must:
- Be 21 years old or older.
- Only possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana or 1/8 an ounce of cannabis concentrate at a time.
- Only grow up to 6 plants. They must be cultivated at least 25 miles from authorized dispensaries and kept in a locked area.
- Restrict marijuana use to private residences (casinos, bars, hotel rooms, dorms and public places are prohibited).
- Not drive while under the influence of marijuana or risk a DUI charge.
- Not sell to minors.
- Refrain from using in all federal buildings and lands.
- Not carry it across state lines or past security checkpoints at airports.
- Purchase only in licensed dispensaries.
What Counts as Marijuana Drug Crimes in Las Vegas?
There are a variety of charges that people can face if they are caught with marijuana in Nevada, including possession, marijuana sales and drug trafficking. Some of the relevant laws include:
- NRS 453.096: Marijuana is defined as all parts of the cannabis plant, excluding the mature stems. This includes whether it is a seed, fully planted or harvested.
- NRS 453.321: Bans a person from importing, transporting, selling, exchanging, bartering, supplying, prescribing, dispensing, giving or administering marijuana. This is a Category B felony that can result in 1-6 years in prison and fines of up to $20,000, with subsequent offense bearing greater consequences. If the sales involved minors or areas where minors were likely to be, such as a school or playground, the punishment will likely be more severe.
- NRS 453.339: Having 50 pounds or more of marijuana is an automatic felony for drug trafficking. Depending on the amount of the drug found, a conviction could range from 1-5 years in prison and substantial fines. Greater amounts could result in a life sentence.
Note that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, even though it is permitted under Nevada law. That means you can still be charged with a marijuana-related crime if you are found in possession in areas that are federally regulated. However, federal agents tend to focus on drug traffickers transporting large quantities of marijuana.
A marijuana drug charges in Las Vegas can have lasting consequences. Contact Joel Mann, marijuana lawyer in Las Vegas, to make sure that you are treated fairly in court and can seek the best possible outcome under the circumstances. Call us or use our contact form today to arrange a free consultation.