The law in regards to marijuana is an evolving and interesting area in Nevada. Recreational users of marijuana have advocated for legalization for medicinal and other uses. However, the law remains unclear and conflicts with laws on the Federal level. Recently, Nevada legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Many people assume that the laws function similar to those in California. In fact, Nevada marijuana laws are very different from those in the State of California.
The law with regards to Marijuana is codified in NRS 453.336, the same statute that deals with other drug crimes. Possession of marijuana under an ounce is a misdemeanor in the State of Nevada, and is defined as exercising dominion or control over the substance. Therefore, if you are driving a car with marijuana in the console, you could be arrested and charged with possession..
Misdemeanors are punishable by a fine up to $1000, and up to six months in the Clark County Detention Center. However, possession of marijuana is rarely punished by jail time. In fact, first offense possession of marijuana is usually punished by taking an online course, paying a $500 or less fine, and the charges are dismissed. The dismissive attitude with which prosecutors handle low level marijuana crimes is a result of Nevada having become more tolerant of marijuana use in recent years.
Possession of marijuana is an enhanceable crime. Therefore, a third offense is a gross misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $2000, and up to one year in the Clark County Detention Center. Fourth and subsequent offenses are E Felonies, which are punishable by one to four years in prison with fines of up to $5000 (although the person is entitled to probation in lieu of prison time). Also, the laws for sale and distribution still apply as if Marijuana was any other illegal drug. For example, possession of marijuana with the intent to sell it is codified under the same statute as any other Schedule I or II drug, NRS 453.337. A conviction of possession with intent to sell marijuana in Nevada is a category D Felony, which carries a penalty of between 1 and 4 years in prison, and a fine of not more than $5,000.00.
Trafficking marijuana is a serious crime and can be treated as either an A, B or C level Felony. However, in order to be convicted of trafficking marijuana, you must be in possession of over 100 lbs. of marijuana or more (NRS 453.339).
NRS 453.096 defines marijuana as any part of the cannabis plant. This can be anything from a seed to a plant to the dried buds or leaves. Also, this definition includes hemp. Therefore, possessing and/or selling hemp is just as illegal as marijuana.
In Nevada, a licensed physician can prescribe marijuana to treat illness. Once a patient receives a prescription for marijuana, the patient must go to the Nevada State Healthy Division. The Department of Motor Vehicles governs the issuance of the license to possess marijuana. This is a fairly lengthy process, which can take up to six months to receive. Once the marijuana card is received, possession of marijuana under an ounce is legal for the patient.
If the person is charged with having a greater amount of marijuana than an ounce, the prescribing physician can sign an affidavit stating that a greater amount is medically necessary for the individual.
It is important to note that possession of marijuana is still illegal on the Federal level. Federal law does not recognize the medical use of marijuana. While the Federal government could arrest and charge you with possession of marijuana, they are unlikely to pursue an individual user.
The law firm of Boley and AlDabbagh has been extremely successful in getting marijuana charges dismissed entirely. If you are being charged with a marijuana crime, don’t hesitate to call today.