Medical Marijuana Law

Nevada Marijuana Laws

Sometimes referred to as “ganja” or “Mary Jane,” marijuana use is still technically illegal under federal law, but individual states have changed their own laws to legalize either medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, or both. Nevada voters legalized medicinal marijuana in 2000 and recreational use in 2016 (with the law taking effect January 1, 2017). However, don’t think you can light up anywhere or start planting a field of weed — there are still many restrictions on exactly who can buy, sell, and grow the drug.

Please Note: Nevada’s marijuana laws have recently changed and will be enacted over time and in phases.

What Nevada Medical Marijuana Law Says

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card

To get a medical marijuana card you must take the following steps:

  • Submit an application packet and $25 to the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, a state registry program of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (Sec. 453A.210);
  • Submit a recommendation from a licensed doctor approving the use of medical marijuana in order to alleviate the symptoms of your condition (Sec. 453A.210);
  • Pay a $75 fee if your application is accepted (Sec. 453A.740).

Most of the application and registration process can be completed online by creating an account with the registry, scanning in your driver’s license, and downloading the application. However, you will still need to get the physician’s recommendation and sign a waiver and acknowledgment in the presence of a notary public before uploading your documents.

Nevada’s Marijuana Laws Regarding Use, Possession, and Cultivation

Once you’re approved for a medical marijuana card, you are entitled to possess and use marijuana for one year before you need to renew your card again, but you still have to follow Nevada law, which includes the following provisions:

  • Adults over 18 may use marijuana only to alleviate specific medical conditions (such as cancer, seizures, and severe pain) (Sec. 453A.050 et seq.);
  • Patients must obtain marijuana from licensed dispensaries (Sec. 453A.366);
  • Under certain circumstances, patients may grow up to 12 of their own marijuana plants (Sec. 453A.200(6));
  • Patients or designated caregivers may possess no more than 2.5 ounces in any 14-day period (Sec. 453A.200);
  • Approved for people over 18 years old, but exceptions exist for patients between ages 10 and 18 with parental approval and additional application requirements (Sec. 453A.210).

Read the full text of the Nevada statutes regarding medical marijuana for more information.

What Nevada Recreational Marijuana Law Says

In Nevada, marijuana use is no longer restricted to those with certain medical conditions. On November 8, 2016, Nevada voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana use with restrictions, including the following:

  • Use authorized for adults over 21;
  • Allowed to possess up to one ounce (or one-eighth of an ounce in concentrated form);
  • May grow up to six plants in your home if you do not live within 25 miles of a dispensary;
  • Driving under the influence of marijuana, transporting it over state lines, and distributing it to those under 21 are still illegal activities.

Federal Marijuana Laws

You also have to keep in mind that marijuana use, possession, cultivation, and sale are still illegal under federal law, and federal law usually trumps state law. However, as more and more states loosen their restrictions on marijuana, the federal government has changed its enforcement priorities to emphasize eight areas, including:

  • Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors;
  • Preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels;
  • Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana;
  • Preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use.

But even though the federal government has relaxed its enforcement of federal marijuana laws within the states, it is still very much illegal under the Controlled Substances Act to transport the drug across state lines, whether by car, plane, boat, or on foot.

I Was Arrested for Possession: What’s Next?

Even though recreational and medical marijuana use have been legalized in Nevada, you still have to be careful to act within Nevada’s marijuana laws or face fines or jail time. For example, if you’re found with large amounts of the drug (trafficking), you could face steep fines or significant prison time, depending on the quantity involved (Sec. 453.339-3393). Additionally, if you sell marijuana without a license, you could face up to six years and a fine of $20,000 (Sec. 453.321).

However, depending on whether your use is medicinal or not, and how far away the nearest dispensary is, you may have done nothing wrong. A good attorney can be instrumental in arguing that you acted within Nevada’s current — and changing — marijuana laws.

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