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Using Marijuana Legally in Las Vegas

Published February 11, 2019 by ADRAS & ALTIG, Attorneys at Law
person smoking marijuana

Nevada’s decision to make it legal for adults to possess and use marijuana captured a lot of interest from tourists as well as residents of Las Vegas. Though marijuana is legal for recreational use in Nevada, the law has restrictions that have created confusion and led to arrests and criminal convictions of many people in Las Vegas.

The lawyers of Adras & Altig defend those arrested for pot possession charges in Las Vegas. It is important to understand Nevada marijuana laws and clear up what marijuana enthusiasts or the curious can and cannot legally do in Las Vegas.

The Basics of Nevada Marijuana Use Laws

By enacting the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act in 2016 after a public referendum, Nevada declared that marijuana should be treated more like alcohol than an illegal drug or controlled substance. Recreational use of the cannabis and its alternative forms (edibles, capsules) became legal on Jan. 1, 2017, and licensed sales began the following July.

Nevada law allows anyone 21 years old or older to buy, possess and consume marijuana for recreational use. Users do not need medical approval to smoke or use weed. However, restrictions remain.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about marijuana in Nevada:

  • How much marijuana can a person legally possess in Las Vegas? Possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana or 1/8-ounce of cannabis concentrate is legal in Nevada. Possessing a larger quantity is a crime unless you are a licensed vendor. Because pot is still illegal under federal law, it is illegal to possess marijuana on federal property in Nevada. This includes the Post Office, federal courthouses, Veterans Administration offices, airports (including McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas) and national parks, forests and monuments, such as Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Little Red Rock, which are popular tourist destinations near Las Vegas.
  • How can someone buy marijuana in Nevada? It is legal to buy marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries, or retail shops. (They are plentiful.) Buying marijuana elsewhere is illegal. Even paying someone back who you asked to buy some for you on their visit to the store is technically illegal.
  • Can I get high in Las Vegas casinos? It is not legal to consume marijuana in public in Nevada. Under the law, you may smoke weed or otherwise use marijuana (i.e., edibles) on private property, which in the spirit of the law is meant to be your own home or at another private residence with permission. It is not legal to use marijuana at the store where you buy it or while riding in a car. You cannot legally consume marijuana in any form in public areas of Las Vegas casinos or in casino hotel rooms. Because of federal marijuana prohibitions and state gaming laws, this is not likely to change anytime soon. This makes it tough for Las Vegas tourists to use marijuana legally without knowing someone who lives here.
  • Can I drive in Las Vegas after using marijuana? Smoking pot and driving is like drinking and driving. If you drive while impaired by marijuana and get caught in Nevada — by weaving, crossing the centerline or some other traffic infraction, or in a license check — you may face a charge of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.

    Under Nevada law, a person is illegally under the influence of marijuana if chemical tests show their blood or urine exceeds legal levels of cannabis in the form of:

    • Marijuana — 2 nanograms per milliliter
    • Marijuana metabolite — 5 nanograms per milliliter.

You Can Be Arrested for Marijuana In Las Vegas

We know the next thoughts of many who are reading this: … This is Las Vegas, a party city that invites people to come and have a good time. Many things are tolerated in Las Vegas if you don’t bother others or bring undue attention to yourself. Unfortunately, every night, people make mistakes or lose self-control and get arrested in Las Vegas.

One exception to the party-hardy attitude Las Vegas is known for is how casinos operate. They are serious businesses. Do not challenge the rules in a Las Vegas casino. There is far too much money at stake to let anything occur that could threaten a Nevada gaming license. That includes any sign of drug use. Do not take marijuana into a casino.

You can be arrested for “joint possession” of marijuana, which refers to marijuana being found in the presence of multiple people who are somehow linked together, such as roommates or spouses. If pot is found in a Vegas hotel room or in a car, everyone there could initially be charged with possession.

At a Las Vegas casino’s hotel, if a housekeeper or other staff smells or sees evidence of drug use, they are obligated to report it. You can bet they will.

Getting arrested and charged with possession of marijuana in Las Vegas will put an end to the party. You could be fined $600 for smoking or even displaying weed in public, if convicted. Possession of more than 1 ounce of pot is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison, if convicted. You can also get four years for selling any amount of marijuana without a license. If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, our experienced Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers are ready to assist you.

Contact a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney

Nevada has legalized the private, responsible use of marijuana. But public use of marijuana or driving while high on cannabis remains illegal. If you have been arrested in Las Vegas or greater Clark County, Nevada on charges of marijuana use, possession or sale, you need legal representation right away.

The Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys of Adras & Altig have been helping residents and tourists who face criminal charges in Clark County for more than a decade. Contact Adras & Altig as soon as possible after a marijuana arrest. We will respond quickly to get you released from custody and start building a smart defense strategy for you.

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