Marijuana Laws in Las Vegas, Nevada
Visitors as well as some residents of Las Vegas might believe that it truly is the city of sin, but most of what it is known for is actually illegal. Read on to find out more about marijuana laws in our city and how you can defend yourself.
What is marijuana?
Marijuana, also known as pot, hemp, blunt, joint, etc. is classified as an illegal substance in Clark County. Marijuana includes all parts of the cannabis plant whether it’s a seed, growing in dirt or fully harvested. There are some exceptions: The mature stems of the plant, fiber that was produced from the stems, food or food products (seeds, oils, etc.) manufactured from the plant and sterilized seeds that are incapable of germination.
Hemp comes from the same type of plant where marijuana comes from, so it is illegal to possess or grow hemp, unless you have a license to grow them. It is legal to possess products made from hemp if the country it was grown in is legal.
The only way to legally own marijuana is through the state’s Medical Marijuana Program. More info about it below.
Charges for Marijuana
Possession of Marijuana or Simple Possession is the charge where a person is found to possess or own small quantities of marijuana for their own personal use. This doesn’t mean that they have to find the marijuana on the person, but have some control over the drug. For example, having the keys to where the marijuana is stored or hiding it somewhere in their personal property.
Penalties for possession of marijuana
The severity of the sentences will depend on the amount of marijuana found:
Found with one ounce (1 oz.) of marijuana or less:
- First Offense – The first offense will be usually classified as a misdemeanor. The usual penalties for first-time offenders without any other drug related crimes in their criminal record will be a $600 fine or counseling at a drug rehabilitation program.
- Second Offense – The second offense is also a misdemeanor, but the fine is increased to $1,000 and/or more counseling at a drug rehabilitation program.
- Third Offense – For the third offense, it will now be classified as a gross misdemeanor. The defendant will then be fined up to $2,000 and/or possibly a sentence at a Clark County jail for a year.
- Fourth or greater offense –Possession of drugs at this point will mean that it is now a category E felony. Since this is a more serious crime, the penalties are one to four years in a Clark County State Prison as well as a $5,000 fine.
Found with more than one ounce (1 oz.) of marijuana:
- First Offense – The court will usually give a suspended sentence and probation for first-time offenders and if they have no drug-related crimes in record yet. The drug court will usually handle cases like this and will dismiss the felony if the sentence is successfully completed. Else, it will be classified as a category E felony, and the defendant will be incarcerated for one to four years and be fined $5,000 dollars.
- Second Offense – Like the first offense, it’s also a category E felony. The penalties are the same: one to four years in prison and a $5,000 dollar fine.
- Third Offense or greater – This will now be classified as a category D felony, and face confinement in a state prison for one to four years as well as fines reaching $20,000.
Possessing or cultivating marijuana with intent to sell
Growing marijuana or possessing quantities of marijuana not exceeding one hundred pounds (100 lbs.). This includes possessing them even if there’s no intent to sell them because the quantities exceed the number expected from personal use.
Penalties for possessing marijuana to sell
- First Offense – First-time offenders have a chance to be granted probation or a suspended sentence if they didn’t have any other drug-related crimes. Otherwise, it will be categorized as a category D felony. When found guilty, criminals can be held in State Prison for one to four years and may be fined up to $20,000.
- Second Offense – This is a category C felony. Criminals can face incarceration in prison for one to five years and receive a $20,000 fine. There is no possibility for the court to grant probation or suspend the sentence.
- Third and subsequent offenses – This crime is a category B felony. This means that they can be imprisoned for three to fifteen years and be fined $20,000. Probation or suspended sentence is also not possible.
The charge of trafficking marijuana involves the manufacture, cultivation, sale, use and delivery of marijuana exceeding one-hundred pounds (100 lbs.). As long as it has something to do with marijuana and the total amount exceeds one-hundred pounds, the suspect will be charged for trafficking marijuana.
Penalties for marijuana trafficking
Similar to simple possession, the penalties will vary on the amount of marijuana:
- One-hundred pounds (100 lbs.) of marijuana – Since this is a category C felony, the criminal may be imprisoned for one to five years, and receive a fine up to $25,000.
- Two-thousand pounds (2,000 lbs.) of marijuana – A category B felony. Possessing two-thousand pounds of marijuana can face two to ten years in state prison, as well as fines that can reach $50,000.
- Ten-thousand pounds (10,000 lbs.) of marijuana or more – Classified as one of the most serious crimes (category A), the criminal can face imprisonment of fifteen years to live and receive fines reaching as high as $200,000. Parole possible after five years.
Selling to Minors
Offenders prosecuted for the sale of marijuana to minors is a felony and they can face:
- One to twenty years in prison for the first offense;
- Life in prison or five to fifteen years in prison, with possible parole after five years for the second or subsequent offenses.
Possession of Drug-related Items, Accessories or paraphernalia
If the person is found to possess drug paraphernalia on their person or their property, they can be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Drug paraphernalia falls into two categories:
Paraphernalia for personal use
These are tools or equipment created for the purpose of consuming recreational drugs like marijuana and cocaine:
Paraphernalia and tools for manufacture and distribution
Mainly used by drug traffickers or sellers, these are used to produce drugs:
- Formulation kits;
- Ingredients commonly used in drugs;
- Storage used to store drugs.
Place of possession
Any of these penalties can be doubled (enhancement) if the violation occurred near locations like schools and bus stops. This is more likely if they are caught selling marijuana to minors.
What about medical marijuana?
Even though the federal government does not recognize the legality of marijuana even for medical use, but so far, there have been no arrests as of yet. Only residents with a medical marijuana license can use, buy and cultivate marijuana for their personal use. Residents can apply for the usage of marijuana for their medical needs.
Some of the medical conditions that are approved for medical marijuana use:
- And any other condition as prescribed by a qualified doctor.
Residents can still be arrested and have their license revoked if they violate the guidelines, for example:
- Taking control of a vehicle or using any form of transportation while under the influence of marijuana;
- Selling marijuana;
- Cultivating marijuana plants which is beyond necessary;
- Possessing a firearm in a public location.
Defenses commonly used against marijuana charges
These are the common defenses used to fight marijuana charges.
A person might be charged with possession if the police didn’t know they have a license or they forgot to bring it with them. It is recommended to always bring their license everywhere they go. Residents with marijuana licenses moving in from other states have to get a separate license for Nevada.
The law allows police to carry out arrests by luring drug dealers into selling marijuana to them. The defense must prove that the defendant wouldn’t have done it if were not for police involvement.
Lack of plausibility and evidence
The defendant cannot be prosecuted unless the prosecution can prove that the defendant is guilty of the act through their own volition.
Marijuana Lawyer Ross Goodman at your service
If you’ve been charged for any of these marijuana violations, contact us immediately for a free consultation with our Las Vegas drug crime lawyer so that we can help you fight these charges, reduce sentences or have them dismissed.