Marijuana Laws in Nevada Lawyers
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What Are the Marijuana Laws in Nevada?
Many people think that Nevada's reputation as the home of "Sin City" means that the state is lax on drug enforcement. However, a quick overview of Nevada's drug laws demonstrates that this is not the case. To the contrary, Nevada has some of the harshest drug laws in the country, especially pertaining to minors. Nevada makes little distinction between "hard drugs" and drugs like marijuana, making it important to know drug laws before going to the state or even bringing in otherwise "legal" drugs.
What Are Nevada's Laws on Marijuana Possession?
Nevada's main distinction in marijuana possession is not by weight, but by the number of offenses. Marijuana possession in Nevada is decriminalized, so the law is considerably more lenient than it has been in the past. Possession of any amount of marijuana is treated as a misdemeanor, and carries a $600 or $1,000 fine for the first and second offenses, respectively, but no prison sentence - however, if the amount is significant, the court may prescribe drug treatment. The third offense can carry up to a year in jail, and a $2,000 fine.
All subsequent offenses are treated as felonies, and carry a $5,000 fine and a 1 - 4 year prison sentence.
Can a User of Medical Marijuana from Another State Bring It into Nevada?
Yes, but not without some hassles. Nevada's Revised Statute 453A does legalize medical marijuana within the state, and even recognizes non-resident users in certain circumstances.
For residents, medical marijuana users must have a registry identification card or be a designated "caregiver" of a card-holder. To receive this card, you must apply to the Nevada Department of Agriculture with full medical documentation of your illness and the recommendation of your physician to take medical marijuana, and you may appoint one - and only one - primary caregiver. The primary caregiver is also extended the protections of the medical marijuana act. Cardholders or caregivers are allowed possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, collectively between them, and are immune from arrest or prosecution for:
- Drug possession
The bill also provides people who do not have a card, but would otherwise be fully qualified for one, to share in these protections. This essentially means that individuals from out of state can possess marijuana for medical reasons, provided they fit all the Nevada requirements for a card.
But it is very important to remember that the federal government does not recognize any medical marijuana, and can still prosecute you for trafficking and possession regardless of any state laws. Under federal sentencing guidelines, and adding in charges of entering interstate commerce, these penalties may be very stiff.
What About Selling or Cultivating Marijuana?
Selling or cultivating marijuana carries some of Nevada's harshest drug laws. Selling any amount less than 100 lbs - including even less than an ounce - is a felony, punishable by at least 1 year and potentially up to 6 years in prison for a first offense. For a second offense, the accused is facing a minimum of 2 yeas and potentially up 10 years. For a third and every subsequent offense, the accused faces a minimum of 3 years and potentially 15 years in prison. Additionally, the first two offenses carry a $20,000 fine, which is decreased to $15,000 for each subsequent offense.
The punishments for any weight above 100 lbs are even more severe.
Nevada judges two other factors in determining sentences.
- Any sale within 1000 feet of a school zone doubles all sentences and fines.
- A sale to a minor (in any amount)
Clearly, a crime carrying either one of these factors will result in increased fines and penalties.
Do I Need a Nevada Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you have been arrested in Nevada for a marijuana crime, or have a legal prescription for marijuana and are thinking of going in state, it is very important to contact a Nevada criminal law attorney immediately. The laws in this field are extremely harsh and frequently changing, so having the right legal knowledge can be the difference between a minor hassle and a prison sentence.
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Last Modified: 07-10-2014 04:44 PM PDT
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