Nevada Legislature leaves legalization up to voters
Last update: July 28, 2015
The Nevada Legislature decided to skip consideration of Initiative Petition 1, which proposes legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and over and taxing and regulating it similarly to alcohol. Their decision means the Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana will be considered by Nevada voters in November 2016.
Please take a moment to “like” Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Nevada on Facebook so that the campaign can keep you posted as the ballot initiative campaign gets underway. While polls show strong public support, we can’t take victory for granted. We’ll need your help to get the word out and run a strong campaign. The website for the campaign in support of the measure is located at www.RegulateMarijuanaInNevada.org, and it is a great location for the latest updates — so be sure to check it out!
When can non-resident medical marijuana patients get protections in Nevada?
One of the positive features of Nevada’s medical marijuana law is that the state will recognize the patient status of non-residents who are qualified under their own local government’s laws. Unfortunately, one of the necessary requirements in order for patients to be protected under state law has not yet been made available – patients must sign an affidavit issued by the state in order to be protected, and so far the state has not made it available to state visitors. While the state has indicated it will provide the affidavits through dispensaries, none are yet operational, even though the law protecting out of state patients is technically in effect. The lengthy process of opening dispensaries continues in Nevada. Several are poised to begin serving patients, although hurdles remain — including the fact that cannabis may not yet be available from cultivation facilities.
For updates on the status of the department’s roll out including news and valuable links, visit the Department of Health and Human Services Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health’s website. Agency rules adopted in April can be found here.
Learn about Nevada’s marijuana laws
Nevada is one of the 20 states that have decriminalized personal use marijuana possession. Four of those states, Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon, have adopted laws that legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older.
Although Nevada is considered a “decriminalization” state, simple possession of marijuana can still be treated harshly. First offense possession of up to an ounce is punishable by a $600 fine instead of jail time, but it remains a misdemeanor. The individual is subject to arrest and drug addiction screening that could lead to mandatory treatment and rehabilitation, and a criminal conviction can lead to a lifetime of discrimination which can limit job opportunities and housing options. A second offense carries a $1,000 fine and drug addiction screening. The penalties for third and fourth offenses continue to worsen. Incredibly, possession of two ounces could land a Nevadan in jail for four years.
There were still over 8,500 marijuana-related arrests or citations in Nevada in 2012, and 85% of them were for marijuana possession. That same year, nearly 90% of reported burglaries, including home invasions, and over 92% of all motor vehicle thefts went unsolved. Law enforcement should stop wasting time and resources on failed marijuana prohibition policies, particularly when most Americans now agree marijuana is less harmful than alcohol.
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