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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.

Nevada Marijuana Laws

As of November 8th, 2016, both recreational and medical marijuana are legal in Nevada. Recreational consumers who are 21 years of age and older are now able to purchase up to 1 ounce of cannabis (or up to 1/8 ounce of concentrate) at a time.

Who can purchase marijuana in Nevada?

Thanks to the passing of Question 2, recreational marijuana is officially legal for people who are 21 years of age and older.

Anyone 18 years and older with a valid medical marijuana card can purchase cannabis legally in Nevada, even if the card has been issued from another state. Minors can also qualify for a medical card as long as a parent or guardian signs the Minor Release Form and agrees to act as the child’s primary caregiver.

Purchasing Limits

Recreational consumers are allowed to purchase up to one ounce of cannabis flower or up to 1/8 of an ounce of concentrate at one time from recreational dispensaries. Note a 15% excise tax will be added to every purchase.

Those with a valid medical marijuana card who are at least 18 years old and older (or their caregivers) can purchase up to 2.5 ounces worth of useable marijuana within a two-week period (14 days). This includes flower, edibles, concentrates, topicals — basically, anything containing cannabis that could get a person high.

Calculations for this limit are based on the total weight of cannabinoids in a product. For example, if a patient wishes to purchase five 100 milligram candy bars, he or she will be able to purchase the remaining weight in flower, concentrates or topicals (which equals around 2.48 ounces of usable marijuana) within a 14-day period.

Although patients can shop at multiple dispensaries, purchases are tracked in real-time throughout the state to prevent purchases of more than 2.5 ounces every 14 days. Where to Buy

Where to Purchase Marijuana in Nevada

Medical marijuana dispensaries are open for business, and many now have dual-licensed facilities, meaning they are able to dispense cannabis to both recreational and medical patients. Check out our Nevada dispensary directory for the current complete list.

Recreational dispensaries are determined by county size, with 80 being allocated to Clark County, 20 to Washoe County, four to Carson County and two to the additional 14 counties. Most dispensaries can be found in highly populated areas like Las Vegas and Reno, with the remaining ones sprinkled throughout the rest of the state.

Store Hours

Dispensary store hours must be authorized by local governments, be in operation during and only during their established timeframe and have their store hours clearly posted at all times.

Store hours vary based on local government regulations. For example, Las Vegas allows medical dispensaries to operate between the hours of 6:00am and 10:00pm, while Reno dispensaries may be permitted to stay open as late as midnight.

Where Can You Consume Marijuana in Nevada?

Cannabis consumption is for private use only. It is illegal to smoke in public, on federal land or in a vehicle without risking a fine.

There is currently one marijuana social lounge in operation in Nevada, though more are planned on the way.

Though some hotels allow tobacco smoke, most will not permit marijuana use because of concerns regarding conflicting federal law. This is especially true of casinos that work hard to meet gaming regulations, making them less likely to “gamble” with federal marijuana law.

Although there has been some discussion about opening a few marijuana resorts on Las Vegas Boulevard in the future, it’s always best to keep a low profile when consuming cannabis in Nevada.

Those caught violating public consumption laws in Nevada will be charged with a misdemeanor which is punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. The ruling judge may assign community service in addition to or in lieu of both jail time and fines.

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Nevada

Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal in Nevada and could result in a fine, potential community service and even jail time. Law enforcement officials will determine if a person is under the influence of marijuana by requesting either a urine sample, blood sample or field sobriety test.

If the urine sample shows at least ten nanograms of marijuana per milliliter (or 15 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolite) or the blood test shows two nanograms of marijuana per milliliter (or five nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolite), the person will be considered high “per-se,” though this can often be contested in court.

Transporting Marijuana

When marijuana is being transported in a vehicle, it should be in a sealed container away from the driver and any minor passengers. Failure to do so could result in an “Open Container” fine or, in the case of minors in the vehicle, the much more severe citation “aggravating circumstance.”

It is also illegal to take marijuana across state lines even if the next destination also has legal marijuana laws because of different marijuana regulations in each state.

Exporting Marijuana

The U.S. Postal Service should never be used as a cannabis delivery system. All mail is subject to search, especially if it smells like marijuana. If an employee at the post office notices an odd or suspicious package, they are required to report it to the proper authorities. If they decide that there is something illegal in the package, they might still deliver it and then arrest the addressee for sending contraband through the mail.

Consumption by Minors

Unless the minor has a valid medical marijuana recommendation, it is illegal for him or her to consume cannabis and cannabis-infused products and could result in a misdemeanor.

Those caught distributing marijuana-related products to minors are punishable with a minimum one-year sentence for first time offenses and up to life in prison (with potential parole after five years) for subsequent offenses.

Cultivation

As party of the passing of Question 2, growing at home will be banned within 25 miles of any dispensary, effectively blocking most of the population of Nevada from growing their own flower. This stipulation may be waived if the dispensary is unable to supply the marijuana to the cardholder, the cardholder is too ill to travel to the dispensary, or the cardholder lacks transportation to travel to the dispensary. Those that are allowed to cultivate can only grow up to 12 plants total, regardless of whether they are mature or not. Explore Strains

Reciprocity

Out-of-state patients with a valid medical marijuana card issued in their home state can purchase cannabis legally in Nevada.

Visiting patients must meet the following conditions and abide by all of Nevada’s medical marijuana possession laws regardless of how much marijuana each patient is allowed to possess in their home state:

  • Must have a valid, non-expired medical marijuana card from their home state.
  • Their home state must exempt medical marijuana cardholders from criminal prosecution for medical marijuana use.
  • The law in your home state must require that physicians advise patients about the benefits of using medical marijuana to ease a patient’s symptoms before a card is issued by that state.
  • The Nevada authorities must be able to verify the validity of your medical marijuana card by accessing a database of registered users.

The majority of medical cannabis states meet these criteria, and the state of Nevada does not maintain a list of programs that do not meet the criteria. If you are uncertain whether or not your medical card is accepted at a Nevada dispensary, it is best to call ahead to be certain before visiting the store.

Delivery

Nevada allows medical cannabis delivery, and has granted temporary permission for recreational dispensaries to offer delivery during the COVID pandemic. It is unknown if REC delivery provisions will continue after emergency guidelines have been recalled.

Legal information about medical and recreational marijuana laws in Nevada, including Las Vegas and Reno.