On November 8th, more than 54 percent of voters in Nevada approved Question 2 on the state ballot, which establishes a framework for distribution and taxation of recreational marijuana.
While lawmakers, business owners, and entrepreneurs alike are preparing for a world where marijuana in recreational use is legal – we as citizens also need to be aware of the practical rights and wrongs with this new law in effect.
Q: When does this new law come into effect?
The new law takes effect on January 1, 2017, so be careful with your marijuana consumption until then. If you are approached by law enforcement before January 1, you should be honest, and not lie as that could lead to more serious charges. Police may either cite you, at which point you should call a lawyer, or they may let it go since the law is due to expire shortly.
Q: Does this mean beginning January 1, I can smoke marijuana anytime and anywhere I want?
No, while it may seem that simple, it is definitely not that simple. When the new law goes into effect, all consumption must be done so in private. So although Las Vegas is a fun place, you can’t just walk down the strip smoking marijuana, even if it is vapor and not detectable by smell.
With the new law, it will also still be illegal to consume marijuana in public spaces, including bars.
Q: Does this mean it is now legal to purchase marijuana from a dealer?
No, it is still illegal to sell marijuana without the proper permits and illegal to buy marijuana anywhere than from an authorized dispensary.
Under the current legal system, if you have a Nevada State Medical Marijuana Card you may purchase 2.5 ounces of cannabis every two weeks and you are allowed to possess 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis.
Q: If I still need a Medical Marijuana Card purchase marijuana, what has really changed?
As long as you are 21 years of age or older, it is legal for you to possess and use marijuana as a recreational user in private and when recreational marijuana dispensaries begin to open, you will be able to purchase products from these dispensaries. Unfortunately the law is so new, there are currently no recreational use dispensaries yet, but rest assured there will be!
Q: If I was previously convicted of a marijuana possession charge, does that go away now that this law has passed?
No, the new law won’t change eligibility for sealing, it’s all based on length of time after conviction.
Q: If someone is currently in custody for possession of marijuana, will the new law change their status?
Not likely, most prisoners have more than just a possession charge that they are incarcerated for and that is likely the least of their charges. If you believe someone was wrongfully incarcerated and this law could affect their situation, you should contact a lawyer about that specific case.
Q: What if I smoke and drive?
DUI marijuana laws have yet to change in Nevada, they will measure by a blood test. Anything above 2 nanograms of active THC is above the limit and DUI, and anything above 5 nanograms of marijuana metabolite is considered DUI. Yes that means the non active metabolite which does not influence your in any way still is considered enough to be guilty of a DUI if it’s above 5 nanograms.
Q: If I am traveling to or from another state like California, where marijuana is also legal, am I allowed to bring it with me?
No, since it is still federally illegal to possess marijuana you may not transport marijuana across state borders. All marijuana must be grown and consumed within, and never leave the state.
Q: Will employers be able to discriminate and screen for marijuana use?
Since it is still illegal under federal law, employment policies will be up to the individual employer.