Marijuana Laws in Nevada

A detailed guide on current marijuana laws in Nevada. Review the legal guidelines on possession, consumptions, and penalties here.

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ARTICLE OVERVIEW:Nevada is one of the ten states in America where marijuana is legalized, both medically and recreationally. Yet, with legalization comes a set of laws and regulations many aren’t aware of. This article outlines these laws and the penalties the state levies if you break them.


Is Marijuana Legal in Nevada?

Yes. Marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in Nevada.

Marijuana became medically legal in 1998 under the Nevada Medical Marijuana Act to anyone over 18 with a proper medical card issued through a doctor. Marijuana became legal for recreational use in 2014 to anyone over the age of 21 via the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana.

However, legality doesn’t mean complete freedom on the use, possession, sale, or trafficking of weed. Just like alcohol, there are regulations surrounding the newly legalized drug in order to make sure people are safe and responsible with their consumption.

It should be noted, just because cannabis is legal doesn’t mean it’s safe. Just as with alcohol, there are side effects to marijuana that people tend to overlook.

Furthermore, laws aren’t completely set in stone yet. Since the state of Nevada is responsible for all regulations surrounding cannabis – and not the federal government – there are changes being made to the rules consistently. For example, in California, it recently became a law for people with prior marijuana convictions are eligible to have charges expunged from their records. Though a law as such hasn’t been set forth in Nevada, it’s very possible we’ll witness some changes in the near future.

The importance of mentioning this is to be informed that lawmakers are still trying to figure out how to make legal cannabis work.

Marijuana Laws in Nevada

According to Nevada’s state website, anyone over the age of 21 is allowed to:

  • Possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana.
  • Possess up to ⅛ of an ounce (3.5 grams) of concentrates.
  • Possess up to 6 marijuana plants per person (no more than 12 in a household).

However, there are regulations surrounding these allowances. In terms of possession and consumption:

  • It’s illegal to consume marijuana in public.
  • It’s illegal to consume marijuana in a vehicle, even if you are a passenger.
  • It’s illegal to use marijuana under the age of 21.
  • It’s illegal to pose as someone else as a means of obtaining marijuana.
  • It’s illegal to give marijuana to a minor (charges will be higher if the minor is under 18).
  • It’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.
  • It’s illegal to purchase marijuana from anywhere other than a state-licensed store.

In terms of growing plants, the following regulations are set in place:

  • You must grow plants within an enclosed area such as a closet or greenhouse with a locked door to limit access to them.
  • You cannot plant marijuana in a place that’s visible from a public place.
  • You must grow plants on your own property and, if you live on a property you don’t own, you must get permission to grow from the owner of the property.
  • You may not grow cannabis within 25 miles of a state-licensed store, in a place which is visible to the public, or on a property you don’t own/don’t have permission to plant on.


Penalties will be charged to people who don’t follow the above rules. The general penalties are.

Furthermore, it remains highly illegal across the country to traffic marijuana. You’re only allowed possession of a large amount if you have a state license to either sell through a store or cultivate cannabis. If you’re caught transporting or importing without a license, you will be charged with a felony, even if you’re unaware of the drug’s presence.

These laws and penalties are structured under NRS 453.3385. Each penalty depends on how much marijuana you’re in possession of when you’re caught:

Low-Level Trafficking If you’re in possession of 50 pounds, but less than 1,000 pounds, you’ll be charged with a Category C Felony.
Mid-Level Trafficking If you’re in possession of 1,000 pounds, but less than 5,000 pounds, you’ll be charged with a Category B Felony.
Large-Level Trafficking If you’re in possession of 5,000 pounds or more, you’ll be charged with a Category A Felony.

In order to get a sense of the consequences, the following list explains the typical penalties attached to each category of a felony within Nevada:

Marijuana DUI

Do not get high and drive!

Marijuana DUIs work similarly to alcohol-related DUIs. If you’re under the age of 21, penalties may vary. However, most penalties are strict.

When you receive your first DUI, you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor which will result in the following consequences:

  • Between 2 days to 6 months in a state jail and/or up to 96 hours of community service.
  • A fine which will range between $400 and $1,000.
  • A Nevada driving under the influence school.
  • The Nevada Victim Panel (also known as a MADD lecture).
  • 90-day driver’s suspension.

When you receive a second DUI, you can expect:

  • Up to 6 months in a state jail and/or residential confinement.
  • A fine which will be no more than $1,000.
  • A drug and alcohol treatment program.
  • The Nevada Victim Impact Panel.
  • 1-year driver’s license suspension.

When you receive a third DUI, you can expect:

  • Between 1 to 6 years in prison.
  • A fine which will be no more than $5,000.
  • Alcohol and drug evaluations and/or alcohol and drug treatment.
  • The Nevada Victim Impact Panel.
  • 3-year driver’s license suspension.

It should be noted that if a DUI inflicts either pain or death, you will be prosecuted under harsher penalties. In many cases, just hurting someone results in a Category B Felony which results in 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.

Also, if you have previous DUI charges against you and get another which results in the death of another person, you’ll automatically be charged with a Category A felony. This will get you betweeen 25 years to life imprisonment without possibility of parole until after 10 years.

If you are under the influence of marijuana and need a ride, it’s important to remember you have options other than driving yourself. These include:

  1. Calling a sober friend to pick you up.
  2. Calling a ride-sharing service, such as Uber or Lyft.
  3. Using public transportation, such as a taxi, bus, or train.

Views on Marijuana

Recreational cannabis was barely won in the state of Nevada – the final vote resulted in a 54 to 46 split. In fact, if you were to look at a map of the vote, you’ll notice the majority of regions in Nevada were against marijuana legalization. Therefore, we can’t define the entire state’s views on marijuana through the fact that it’s legalized.

Just as with California, each county has its own rules and regulations when it comes to cannabis consumption. Though the law has been embraced within the areas surrounding Las Vegas and Reno, most of the state hasn’t set up marijuana dispensaries. And they may not feel any need to in the near future.

This is important to note because though it’s legal to consume cannabis throughout the entire state, it’s illegal to purchase marijuana from sources besides state-licensed dispensaries. Therefore, those in the regions without dispensaries are at risk of breaking the law in order to gain a legal supply.

Furthermore, if marijuana shows up on a drug test, you may be denied certain benefits, such as work or welfare.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Marijuana can absolutely be addictive – both physically and mentally. It’s estimated that 30% of people who smoke cannabis have some level of a marijuana use disorder. This is more likely the case if people consume marijuana prior to the age of 18.

The physical aspects of addiction will not appear with everyone who smokes. For the most part, chronic smokers (people who smoke daily) are the ones most effected. Physical addiction qualities will reveal the following signs:

  • Aggression
  • Cravings
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Raise in body temperature
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating

The mental aspects of marijuana addiction are more prominent. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active ingredient in cannabis, causes the drug to be psychoactive. Meaning people will experience a more mental high rather than a physical. Therefore, the addiction is likewise more mental. The psychological symptoms of addiction to weed often include:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Mood changes

People who are physically dependent on marijuana can expect to feel withdrawal symptoms when they quit using. Withdrawal occurs when the brain and body return to a natural, THC-freestate. Not everyone will experience the same withdrawal symptoms, however, the following is a list of the most common symptoms reported by people:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety.
  • Chills
  • Cravings
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • Lack of focus
  • Lack of appetite
  • Mild depression
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep disorders
  • Sweating
  • Weight loss

If you or anyone you love is currently struggling with marijuana addiction, there are available resources to help you. Feel free to give us a call for advice.

Marijuana Treatment

If you or anyone you love is struggling with marijuana addiction, there are marijuana addiction treatment options available. Since addiction is very personal and differs from person to person, treatment will likewise differ. Typically, you can expect to take the following five steps:

  1. Medical Assessment

Through drug tests, interviews, and a full medical/family history, your addiction will be evaluated for the sake of discovering the best treatment course for you.

  1. Detox

Since marijuana dependence isn’t as brutal as other drugs, not everyone will need to enter detox. However, those who do will want to make sure they find themselves a reputable detox center. Not only for the sake of having professional assistance for weaning off the drug, but also to relieve specific withdrawal symptoms.

  1. Psychological Treatments

The purpose of psychological treatment and talk therapy is to teach you how to go back to your day-to-day life without using marijuana to handle emotional and life stressors. It begins with taking personal responsibility and build from here.

Some people will find individual therapy most beneficial. This allows for a one-on-one interaction with a professional who seeks to discover the root of your marijuana addiction and help you change your throught and beliefs. Others find group therapy more beneficial as it allows you to relate with those going through similar problems.

  1. Educational Sessions

One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to learn about addiction and how weed works on the brain. The goal is to make you aware of the psychoactive effects of THC to help prevent relapse and consider alternative ways to feel good.

  1. Supportive Services

Some individuals will benefit from supportive services. These include:

  • Financial assistance
  • Housing assistance
  • Legal assistance
  • Medical assistance
  • Vocational training

Your Questions

Marijuana can be useful. But it can also get in the way of your best self. If you’re ready for help, please reach out and ask. Learn more about how marijuana addiction is diagnosed and treated by professionals. You don’t need to do it alone.

If you have any further questions pertaining to marijuana laws in Nevada or cannabis addiction, we invite you to ask them in the comments below. We try to reply to each comment in a prompt and personal manner. If you have any advice to give when it comes to these topics, we would also love to hear from you.


About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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