With marijuana being legalized for medical use and decriminalized in many other cases, the penalties associated with cannabis use in the Silver State are being reduced significantly. Although marijuana laws are becoming more lax, it’s important to remember that the drug is still not legal for recreational use in Nevada. Residents should keep in mind that marijuana remains illegal, and being found in possession of the drug can result in a misdemeanor or in cases involving larger amounts, a felony.
Penalties associated with marijuana possession in Nevada
If you are being charged with possession of less than one ounce of marijuana for personal use, the possible penalties are as follows:
- First offense: A misdemeanor, with treatment as a substitute to jail time, and a fine of up to $600.
- Second offense: A misdemeanor, with treatment as a substitute to jail time, and a fine of up to $1000.
- Third offense: A gross misdemeanor, up to 1 year in jail, and a fine of up to $2000.
- Forth offense: A class E felony, between 1 and 4 years in prison, and a fine or up to $5,000.
Possession of any amount of marijuana with the intent to distribute will result in felony charges. The severity of other factors such as jail time and fines vary based on prior convictions:
- No prior felony conviction: A prison sentence of 1 – 4 years, with up to a $5,000 fine
- One prior felony conviction: A prison sentence of 1 – 5 years, with up to a $10,000 fine
- Two or more prior felony convictions: A prison sentence of 3 –15 years, with up to a $20,000 fine
Only felony marijuana convictions involve prison sentences. In each of the felony situations listed above, the prison sentence may be suspended and the defendant can receive probation not to exceed a fixed term of years.
The future of marijuana in Nevada
A number of states, most famously Washington and Colorado, have made marijuana legal for recreational purposes. Nevada on the other hand, won’t have its chance to join the ranks of these states just yet. There has been a powerful push from Nevada residents to have the legalization of recreational use added to the 2016 ballot. If a bill passes, Nevadan’s could be legally consuming cannabis as soon as 2017. Until that time, however, it’s important to keep in mind that possessing marijuana can get you into trouble with the law.