Last Update: December 18, 2014
Nevada may be the next state to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults
Nevada’s Secretary of State Ross Miller announced enough signatures were submitted to qualify the The Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana for the November 2016 ballot — if the legislature doesn’t enact the measure first. During the first 40 days of its 2015 session, the Nevada Legislature will have an opportunity to adopt the measure. If it fails to act on the petition or rejects it, the proposal will appear on the ballot in November 2016. Please be sure to ask your legislators to legalize marijuana for adults’ use and to regulate it like alcohol.
The website for the campaign in support of the measure is located at www.RegulateMarijuanaInNevada.org. The site is a great location for the latest updates, so be sure to check it out!
Implementation of Nevada’s improved medical marijuana program underway
The lengthy process of implementing a regulatory system for businesses serving medical marijuana patients continues in Nevada. In early November, the health department announced it had approved 371 preliminary business licenses for medical marijuana businesses, including 55 dispensaries, 117 production facilities and 17 testing labs. Once dispensaries are up and running, the state expects to implement rules allowing out-of-state patients to have access to medical marijuana – including many seriously ill patients who live in states that have not yet adopted compassionate laws allowing access.
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 19 states that have decriminalized personal use marijuana possession. Four of those 19 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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