Recreational Marijuana: Some Thoughts to Consider

Question 2 passed in the November 2016 election and took effect January 1, 2017. This voter-approved initiative made recreational use of marijuana legal in Nevada. Under this new law, it is now legal for any adult over the age of 21 to legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana. But questions remain regarding where it is legal to purchase the product, and how use of the drug may affect employment and driving.

Where Can Recreational Marijuana be Purchased?

Recreational marijuana will not be legally available for purchase in Nevada, until state regulations are drafted and approved. These regulations will govern the licensing and operations of growers and retail establishments, and will also set up the taxation policies Nevada will use in this industry. Nevada will be imposing an excise tax of 15 percent on wholesale distribution of recreational weed, as well as collecting sales tax from retailers.

For the first 18 months, Nevada will be piggybacking on the already established medical marijuana grow and retail establishments, and initially, only they will be able to apply for a license to grow and sell recreational marijuana. After this period other private firms may be considered and licensed to grow and sell recreational marijuana.

The drafting of regulations has been “fast-tracked” by the state legislature, and the regulations will probably not go into effect until summer 2017, at the earliest, although the law itself requires these regulations to be in place by January 1, 2018.

Until regulations are in place and approved by the governor, marijuana cannot be legally purchased in Nevada, except with a medical marijuana card.

Can I Grow My Own?

Yes and No. The law allows for individuals to cultivate up to six plants for personal use. If current medical marijuana regulations are followed, you will not be able to grow marijuana plants for your own consumption within a 25-mile radius of a dispensary. Clark County is slated under the new law, to have 80 recreational establishments, so within Clark County it may be difficult, except in rural areas to legally grow the plants. It remains to be seen if the state allows cultivation for recreational purposes within the 25-mile limit.

Where Can Recreational Marijuana be Used?

Recreational marijuana may only be consumed in the privacy of your home. It may not be smoked in public places, or in a motor vehicle. The law as it stands does not provide for businesses, such as hookah lounges, and weed bars, although that may change as the business grows and matures. If you rent, or otherwise don’t own your home, you may wish to gain permission from the property owner before consuming on their premises. Casinos and hotels do not allow smoking marijuana on their premises.

Can Legal Weed Use Affect My Employment?

Absolutely. Your employer may prohibit marijuana use among employees, and may continue policies requiring mandatory drug testing of employees. Nothing has changed in this area under the new law.

What About Driving After Smoking Weed?

Don’t do it. Nothing has changed in terms of driving regulations, or enforcement of impaired driving laws. State and local law enforcement agencies have stated that they will continue the same policies as always to get impaired drivers off the road. In fact, there may be increased attention given to driving high, due to the new law going into effect. Since there is no current field test for THC levels, like a Breathalyzer, the police will continue to use the methods they’ve been trained to follow to detect drivers who are high. It is at the officer’s discretion from observation of driving, field sobriety tests and observed behavior, whether to arrest a driver under such circumstances. Once arrested a blood test will be administered to determine THC concentration in the blood stream. Nevada’s limit is a relatively strict 2 nanograms/ml. Exceeding this level will result in a DUI charge under current Nevada law.

The Defenders Provides Defense for Drug Law Charges

While the laws are changing to allow for recreational use of marijuana, there are still many ways to break current drug laws. If you have been charged with a marijuana or other drug-related infraction, the lawyers of The Defenders are fully capable of providing a strong defense for you. Call us today to discuss your situation at (702) 333-3333.

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