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A Guide to Marijuana Laws in Las Vegas, Nevada

Updated July 20, 2020

Recreational marijuana is legal in Nevada. Only adults 21 and over may use it. They may not possess more than one ounce. And the marijuana use and possession must be in a private residence.

Only licensed dispensaries may sell pot. In 2021, public consumption may become legal in licensed social use venues.

On this page our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys provide an overview of Nevada marijuana laws:

Adults 21 and older may possess up to 1 oz. of marijuana in Nevada for recreational use.

1. Is recreational marijuana legal in Nevada?

Adults 21 years of age and older in Nevada may possess up to one ounce of pot for personal use. Or they may possess up to 1/8 of an ounce of marijuana concentrate (such as hashish). Concentrate is the separated resin, either crude or purified.

It is illegal to consume recreational cannabis outside a private residence. And residential owners may prohibit marijuana on their own property.

Examples of public places where pot is illegal under state law include:

  • Hotel rooms,
  • Casinos,
  • Schools and universities,
  • Dorm rooms,
  • Common areas in apartment buildings,
  • Offices buildings,
  • Restaurants,
  • Bars,
  • Stadiums,
  • Public restrooms, and
  • Federal property 1

Las Vegas has legalized public pot consumption in social use venues. But the governor delayed this legalization until 2021. However, people can currently consume pot legally in the Paiute cannabis lounge. 2

1.1. Penalties

Smoking weed in public is a misdemeanor carrying a $600 fine in the state of Nevada.

A first offense of having more than 1 oz. but less than 14 grams is a category E felony. Courts grant eligible defendants who plead guilty or no contest a deferral of judgment, which means the charge will get dismissed if the defendant completes various court-ordered sentencing terms. Otherwise, category E felony convictions carry probation and a suspended sentence. (But if the defendant has two or more prior felony convictions, the court may order one to four years of Nevada State Prison and a maximum of $5,000 in fines.)

2. Where can marijuana be purchased?

In licensed dispensaries. Purchasers must show their ID. And they may not consume the pot until they get home.

On the drive home, the weed must remain in a sealed container. Ideally it should also be out of view in the trunk or glove compartment. Neither drivers nor passengers may consume pot in a vehicle.

2.1. Dispensaries

Most marijuana dispensaries are in Las Vegas, Henderson, and Reno. A county’s population determines the number of dispensaries it can license.

Clark County has the most: 80 licenses. Washoe County has the second-most: 20 licenses. Carson City has four. And the remaining 14 counties have two licenses.

Local governments determine their dispensaries’ store hours. And the dispensaries must keep these hours conspicuously posted. Currently, Las Vegas dispensaries may operate between 6:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M. And in Reno, closing must be no later than midnight.

Many dispensaries are licensed to sell both recreational and medical marijuana. Consumers of recreational pot pay a regular sales tax. Wholesalers pay a 15% excise tax. And retailers pay a 10% excise tax. 3

3. Is it legal to grow and cultivate cannabis?

Cultivating recreational weed is illegal with one exception. The grower must live more than 25 miles from a licensed dispensary.

People who do live more than 25 miles away may grow up to six marijuana plants. No household may have more than 12 plants total.

The plants must be located in an enclosed space such as a room, greenhouse, or closet. The space must have a lock or security apparatus. And the plants cannot be visible to the public. If the grower is not the property owner, the grower must get the owner’s permission. 4

3.1. Penalties

Growing more than the 12-plant maximum is a category E felony. Category E felony convictions carry probation and a suspended sentence, with a possible sentence of up to 1 year in jail. (But if the defendant has two or more prior felony convictions, the court may order one to four years of Nevada State Prison and a maximum of $5,000 in fines.)

The penalties for unlawfully growing weed within 25 miles of a licensed dispensary increase with each conviction:

Conviction for growing marijuana within 25 miles of a dispensary

Nevada penalties

Probation and a suspended sentence, with a possible jail sentence of up to 1 year. But if the defendant has two or more prior felony convictions, the court may order:

4. Who is allowed to sell or distribute marijuana?

Only licensed dispensaries may sell and distribute pot in Nevada. Weed may not be driven or transported between state lines. It makes no difference if marijuana is legal in both states.

Weed also may not be sent through the mail. When the USPS detects pot, it may make the delivery only to arrest the recipient. 5

4.1. Penalties

A first-time offense of possessing pot with the intent to sell it is a category D felony. It carries one to four years in prison and possibly up to $5,000 in fines.

A first-time offense of selling pot is a category C felony. It carries one to five years in prison and possibly up to $10,000 in fines.

Any action involving 50 pounds or more of weed is prosecuted as trafficking. Depending on the weight, prison sentences range from one year to life.

It may be possible to get pot charges reduced or dismissed through a plea bargain.

5. Can minors have marijuana?

No one under age 21 may possess weed in Nevada. The only exception is people with medical marijuana cards. 6

5.1. Penalties

It is a misdemeanor for underage people to hold themselves out as 21 to obtain weed. The punishment is up to $1,000 in fines and/or up to six months in jail.

It is also a misdemeanor for people under 21 to loiter in dispensaries. The punishment is a $500 fine.

It is a gross misdemeanor to knowingly provide cannabis to a minor under 18. The punishment is up to $2,000 in fines and/or up to 364 days in jail. If the minor is over 18 but under 21, knowingly providing pot is only a misdemeanor. The penalty is up to $1,000 in fines and/or up to six months in jail.

6. Is DUI of marijuana a crime?

Yes. Nevada law prohibits drunk driving and drugged driving. Even if the driver is not impaired, it is DUI per se to drive with the following pot levels:

  • Blood: At least 2 nanograms per milliliter (or 5 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolite);
  • Urine: At least 10 nanograms per milliliter (or 5 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolite)

A first-time DUI conviction with no injury is a misdemeanor. Penalties typically include a fine and suspended jail sentence. The judge also orders DUI school and a victim impact panel.

A first-time DUI also carries a six-month driver’s license suspension. But defendants can usually drive immediately on a restricted license. 7

7. What are the medical marijuana laws?

People of any age can apply for a medical marijuana card in Nevada. Their doctor just needs to sign off on it.

If the patient is under 18, his/her parent or guardian needs to sign the medical use Minor Release Form. This parent or guardian also acts as the primary caregiver.

The medical card must be issued by Nevada or one of the following reciprocal states:

Cardholders may buy up to 2.5 ounces of usable weed within a 14-day period. Usable weed includes:

  • Edibles
  • Flowers
  • Concentrates
  • Topicals

Patients can buy 2.5 ounces of one type of medical cannabis. Else they can buy a combination that amounts to 2.5 ounces. Patients may purchase their cannabinoids all in one dispensary. Or they may go to several dispensaries.

Dispensaries share customer information with each other. So they will not sell cannabis to patients who already met their limit. 8

8. Is pot still illegal under federal law?

Yes, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. The feds are unlikely to bust recreational users or licensed dispensaries. But they could.

In addition, people caught with weed may be ineligible for federal financial aid. This includes:

  • Work-Study programs;
  • Pell grants;
  • Perkins loans;
  • PLUS loans; or
  • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants;

Weed users may also be ineligible for federal housing benefits. Pot users may not purchase a gun. And pot is banned on federal property. Examples include federal buildings, parks, and military bases.

Furthermore, businesses that accept large amounts of federal funding have to follow the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. 9

9. Can the cases be sealed?

Yes, unless the case was for felony DUI. And there is a waiting period, unless the case was dismissed. The length of the wait depends on the crime. 10

Category of cannabis conviction

Waiting period to get a Nevada record seal

10. What are the immigration consequences?

All marijuana crimes are deportable with one exception: Possessing 30 grams or less for personal use.

Non-citizens facing prosecution should hire an attorney immediately. The attorney may be able to get the charge dropped. Or he/she may get the charge reduced to a non-deportable offense.

For more information, contact our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation.

¿Habla español? Más información acerca de las leyes de marihuana.

Arrested in California? Go to our article on California pot laws.

Arrested in Colorado? Go to our article on Colorado pot laws.

Legal References
  1. NRS 453.336; NRS 453D.400 ; On November 8, 2016, Nevadans voted on Ballot Question 2 to legalize recreational pot. This is also called the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. It went into effect on January 1, 2017.
  2. Dan Hernandez, “‘The tribe has taken over’: the Native Americans running Las Vegas’ only cannabis lounge“, The Guardian (November 11, 2019).
  3. NRS 453D.210 .
  4. NRS 453D.400 .
  5. NRS 453D; 18 U.S.C. 1716.
  6. NRS 453D.400 .
  7. NRS 484C.110.
  8. NRS 453A.
  9. Section 484 subsection R of the Higher Education Act of 1998; Federal Form 4473; 41 U.S.C. 8101-8106.
  10. NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.
  11. 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(B).

Nevada Laws Blog Posts:

Updated July 20, 2020 Recreational marijuana is legal in Nevada. Only adults 21 and over may use it. They may not possess more than one ounce. And the marijuana use and possession must be in a private residence. Only licensed dispensaries may sell pot. In 2021, public consumption may become legal in licensed social .

Updated July 20, 2020 Recreational marijuana is legal in Nevada. Only adults 21 and over may use it. They may not possess more than one ounce. And the marijuana use and possession must be in a private residence. Only licensed dispensaries may sell pot. In 2021, public consumption may become legal in licensed social .

Updated July 20, 2020 Recreational marijuana is legal in Nevada. Only adults 21 and over may use it. They may not possess more than one ounce. And the marijuana use and possession must be in a private residence. Only licensed dispensaries may sell pot. In 2021, public consumption may become legal in licensed social .

Updated July 20, 2020 Recreational marijuana is legal in Nevada. Only adults 21 and over may use it. They may not possess more than one ounce. And the marijuana use and possession must be in a private residence. Only licensed dispensaries may sell pot. In 2021, public consumption may become legal in licensed social .

Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers explain Nevada marijuana laws re. use, possession, cultivation, sales, distribution, DUI, seals, and immigration issues.