Five Thing You Should Know About Recreational Marijuana in Las Vegas



On November 8, 2016, Nevada legalized recreational marijuana to the celebration of a great many folks. But as some partygoers in Elko found out on New Year’s Eve 2016, marijuana does not flow as freely as booze even in states which have legalized it.  

Here are five questions you might want to be answered before you roll your next fatty.

Is it really legal? The answer to this question is yes and no.  Yes, Nevada has legalized marijuana for recreational use for those over the age of 21 beginning the first of this year. Nevada’s law, however, does not change marijuana’s Schedule 1 classification under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Any possession, cultivation, or use of marijuana is still a federal crime.  The reason that people can freely smoke pot in states such as Colorado, and now Nevada, is that the federal government has selectively chosen how it enforces its laws regarding marijuana. Outside of certain “enforcement priorities,” the Obama Administration has relied on states and local law enforcement agencies to address marijuana activity through enforcement of their own narcotics laws. Just beware, this hands-off approach to the Controlled Substances Act can change at the whim of a new administration.

How much can I possess? Keeping in mind that possession of any pot is a crime under federal law, Nevada permits you to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana or up to 1/8 of an ounce of marijuana concentrates such as oils and wax.

Where can I smoke it? Just because pot is legal, does not mean that you can smoke it everywhere.  If you plan on lighting up at your next tailgate party, make sure to do it inside the truck when it isn’t moving.  The law prohibits consuming marijuana in a public place, in a retail marijuana store, or in a moving vehicle.  A public place is “an area to which the public is invited or in which the public is permitted regardless of age.”  This includes bars, casinos, and even hookah lounges.

Can I grow my own? Yes, and, then, probably not.  It is now legal in Nevada for adults to cultivate not more than six marijuana plants for personal use. The weed must be grown on property that you own or occupy and in an area that is locked and not visible from a public place.  The catch — and this is a big catch — is that you must not live within 25 miles of a retail marijuana store.  When such stores finally open in a few months, the law will prevent Nevada’s urban population — over 80% of the state — from growing its own pot.  Oh, and in case you are wondering unless you are a licensed marijuana dispensary, you cannot sell what you grow.  To do so would be a felony.

Should I smoke pot?  Just because you have the right to do something, doesn’t mean you should.  Although the concept of marijuana as a gateway drug has pretty much been debunked, marijuana still carries a “high potential” for abuse and can result in psychological dependence.  Studies in 2012 showed that around 4.3 million individuals meet the diagnostic criteria for marijuana dependence.  

Vegas West
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