Marijuana Charges in Las Vegas

Marijuana is the most frequently used drug in the United States. In fact, more than 40 percent of adults in this country have tried it. Considerable evidence shows that humans have been culturing cannabis for various uses for more than 5,000 years. Despite it’s popularity the criminal penalties for marijuana are barely distinguishable in Nevada from substances considered “hard drugs.”

Nevada had the 19th highest marijuana arrest rate in the country in 2007, totaling 7,950 arrests for marijuana offenses. More than 5,982 of those arrests occurred in Clark County by local law enforcement agencies. Not only are law enforcement officers aggressive in making arrests, the prosecutors are also aggressive in seeking convictions.

At the Law Office of Joel M. Mann, we defend clients accused of either a misdemeanor or felony marijuana-related criminal charges with an aggressive defense. In many of these cases, motions to dismiss, motions to suppress, and motions to exclude evidence can be filed and litigated to increase the chances for an outright dismissal of the charges by the Court or termination of the prosecution by the District Attorney’s Office in Clark County, Nevada.

Las Vegas Marijuana Attorney

If you are faced with a marijuana-related charge, the best protection you have is the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The sooner you contact a qualified professional the sooner they can begin your defense. The consequences of marijuana-related convictions can be severe and often extend beyond legal penalties by imposing restrictions on other areas of your life.

We are familiar with every facet of Nevada law pertaining to marijuana including:

Protect yourself by hiring an attorney dedicated to fighting on your behalf. Call (702) 474-6266 for a free consultation with attorney Joel Mann to discuss which defense strategies are best suited to aggressively fight criminal charges.

What constitutes marijuana in Nevada?

The Nevada Uniform Controlled Substances Act sets forth a definition of Marijuana in Nevada Revised Statute Section 453.096. “Marijuana” means all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether it is growing or not. It also includes the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of the plan, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin.

Marijuana does not include the mature stems of the plant, fiber produced from the stems, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the mature stems (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination.

What are Nevada’s Penalties for Marijuana Charges?

The State sets forth various guidelines based on whether the charge is for possession of marijuana or its sale or cultivation. The consequences also factor in the amount and whether it is a first-time or repeat offense (second conviction, third conviction, or fourth or subsequent conviction).

Therefore, the state statutes simply set forth guidelines and each individual sentence may vary based on the particular facts and circumstances, the individual’s personal criminal record, and even which judge is completing the sentencing.

Possession Charge Incarceration Max Fine Statute
Less than 1 oz(first offense) Misdemeanor Up to 6 months in jail $600 §453.336(4)(a)
Less than 1 oz(second offense) Misdemeanor Up to 6 months in jail $1,000 §453.336(4)(b)
Less than 1 oz(third offense) Gross Misdemeanor 1 year $2,000 §453.336(4)(c)
Less than 1 oz(fourth offense) Class E Felony 1-4 years $5,000 §453.336(4)(d)
Sale or Cultivation Charge Incarceration Max Fine
Less than 100 lbs(first offense) Felony 1-6 years $20,000
Less than 100 lbs(second offense) Felony 2-10 years $20,000
Less than 100 lbs(subsequent offense) Felony 3-15 years $20,000
100 to 2,000 lbs Felony 1-5 years $25,000
2,000 to 10,000 lbs Felony 2-20 years $50,000
More than 10,000 lbs Felony Life, possible parole after 5 years or 5-15 years $200,000
To a minor(first offense) Felony 1-20 years variable
To a minor(second offense) Felony Life, possible parole after 5 years or 5-15 years variable
Within 1,000 feet of a school or other specified areas Felony double penalty double penalty
Paraphernalia Charge Incarceration Max Fine
Paraphernalia possession Misdemeanor Up to 6 months $1,000

Note that the weight of marijuana is its weight when seized or soon as it can reasonably be weighed after a seizure. Talk to a criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada today to discuss your unique circumstances and to learn more about what types of sentencing may apply.

What are the defenses to marijuana charges?

Medical Marijuana serves as an affirmative defense for several marijuana charges.

The state Department of Agriculture administers Nevada’s medical marijuana law which functions as an exception to Nevada’s law on controlled substances and is contained in chapter 453A of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS).

The substance of the law in NRS § 453A.200 provides that “a person who holds a valid registry identification card” is exempt from state prosecution for certain acts relating to the possession, delivery or production of marijuana.

The exception only applies to persons engaged in the medical use of marijuana and where the amount is no more than one ounce of usable or loose marijuana, three mature plants or four immature plants.

Another important aspect of Nevada’s medical marijuana law is the fact that a person who is legitimately engaged in the medical use of marijuana may raise an affirmative defense to certain charges of possession, delivery or production of marijuana.

However, there are numerous acts for which a may not assert an affirmative defense, regardless of whether they are a participant in the state’s medical program.

As stated in NRS § 453A.300, such prohibited acts include:

    1. Operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana;
    2. Possessing a firearm while under the influence of marijuana;
    3. Possessing marijuana or drug paraphernalia in a public place;
    4. Delivering marijuana for consideration to any person; and
    5. Delivering marijuana for no consideration to a person who does not lawfully hold a registry identification card.

Filing and Litigating Motions to Suppress Evidence or Dismiss Charges

Two key defenses that are effective in marijuana cases involve filing motions with the court to:

  • Suppress evidence that was illegally obtained; and
  • Dismiss the charges based upon insufficient evidence.

When evidence is suppressed the prosecution is unable to use it in court, oftentimes leaving them unable to prove their case. The suppression of evidence is possible where the search of your person, vehicle, or other property was done in a way that is unconstitutional.

Additionally, if the police had an invalid search warrant or went beyond the scope of a search warrant the evidence may be suppressed. Your rights may have been violated at any point in the process, therefore, discussing the details with your attorney is essential. Be prepared to recount the way you were stopped and or searched, whether the drugs were in plain view if undercover police or confidential informants were involved, and whether your Miranda rights were read.

There are also various ways to show the prosecution has insufficient evidence to prosecute the case. If you were in an area where the drug was present and accessible it may not be clear the drug belong to you as opposed to someone else in the location.

Additionally, they may not be able to prove that you knew the marijuana was in your home or vehicle. An honest and truthful discussion about the events before, during, and after your arrest will allow your attorney to determine which defenses may apply and any possible motions to suppress or motions to dismiss that may be in your favor.

What about driving under the influence of marijuana?

Nevada has a per se drugged driving law for those caught driving under the influence of marijuana. Nevada law states that any driver with a detectable amount of cannabis metabolites above the threshold amount is guilty of a DUID regardless of whether they are impaired.

Nevada’s DUI Per Se Levels by Substance per Id. § 484.397(3):

Prohibited Substance Urine Blood
(g) Marijuana 10 ng/ml 2 ng/ml
(h) Marijuana metabolite 15 ng/ml 5 ng/ml

Additionally, driving while under the influence of controlled substances is also prohibited by § 484.397(2). Instead of being based on the amount consumed this offense considers the facts including the amount and type of substance the time it was consumed and the effects it may have on a particular user.

The prosecutor must prove that the driver was under the influence of a controlled substance to a degree that renders the driver incapable of safely driving or exercising actual physical control of a vehicle.

What does Federal law say about marijuana?

The Federal Government prosecutes drug crimes through the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. Section 811), which treats marijuana or cannabis like any other controlled substance. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it is considered a dangerous illegal drug, which is “highly addictive.”

Federal law criminalizes the possession, distribution or cultivation of large quantities of cannabis. Generally, federal authorities focus on prosecuting marijuana offenses in cases that involve large quantities of marijuana by drug traffickers, but it is important to be aware that federal laws do govern marijuana.

This is also critical because the federal government does not recognize medical marijuana, which makes the provisions of NRS 453A unable to protect even legitimate users from federal prosecution. Therefore participants in Nevada’s medical marijuana program run the risk of potential federal prosecution for possession.

Marijuana Law Resources

Nevada State Health Division, Medical Marijuana Program – Includes information on how Nevadans diagnosed with a chronic or debilitating medical condition can obtain a registry identification card for the medical use of marijuana.

4150 Technology Way, Suite 104
Carson City, NV 89706
(775) 687-7594

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws – NORML is a non-profit, public-interest organization that opposes marijuana prohibition including all criminal penalties for private possession, cultivation, and responsible use of marijuana by adults. Their website provides information on marijuana laws (by state) and activism to change those laws.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – LEAP is made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who are speaking out about the failures of our existing drug policies.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy – The SSDP is an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact drug abuse has on our communities and who are pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future while fighting back against counterproductive Drug War policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth.

Marijuana Policy Project – The MPP Foundation is a non-profit organization aimed at gaining public support for non-punitive, non-coercive marijuana policies. The MPP works to change state laws to reduce or eliminate penalties for medical and non-medical use of marijuana by responsible adults.

Americans for Safe Access – The ASA is the nation’s largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.

Office of National Drug Control Policy – ONDCP is to establish policies, priorities, and objectives for the Nation’s drug control program. The goals of the program are to reduce illicit drug use, manufacturing, and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences.

Drug Enforcement Agency – Marijuana – The DEA’s webpage about marijuana and links to other government organizations’ online materials about marijuana.

Law Office of Joel M. Mann | Nevada Marijuana Defense Lawyer

Being arrested for a cannabis-related offense can feel overwhelming. Clark County criminal defense attorney Joel M. Mann understands how the criminal justice system works. If you have been arrested for possession or distribution of marijuana, contact Joel M. Mann today at (702) 474-6266, the initial consultation is free.