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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.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card
To get a medical marijuana card you must take the following steps:
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:
Read the full text of the Nevada statutes regarding medical marijuana for more information.
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:
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:
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.
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.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified medical marijuana lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local medical marijuana attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.