Marijuana is legal for adults and is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol; state also has a medical marijuana law
Last update: March 20, 2023
6.5 years into cannabis legalization in Nevada!
Nevada voters approved the legalization of medical cannabis in 2000, but the program did not include safe, regulated access via dispensaries until 2014. In November 2016, voters legalized cannabis for adult use, allowing adults to purchase, possess, consume, and — in some cases — cultivate cannabis. In Nevada, adults 21 and older may possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower and 1/8 of an ounce of concentrate. Also in 2020, a law was passed prohibiting employers from rejecting most applicants solely based on a positive test for cannabis.
Except in the case of consumption lounges, it remains illegal to consume cannabis in public. Smoking cannabis in a public place in Nevada carries a fine of up to $600. Landlords and owners can also prohibit cannabis use on their properties.
Adults may grow cannabis if they live at least 25 miles away from their nearest dispensary. Those adults may grow up to 6 plants per person, with no more than 12 plants per household. The plants must be grown away from the public eye and should not be visible to people outside the home. The grower must get the property owner’s permission if he or she is not the owner of the residence.
Nevada announces new licensees to operate a consumption lounge
In 2021, the Nevada Legislature enacted AB 341 to legalize cannabis consumption lounges, which will be regulated by the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (NCCB). Two types of consumption lounges are allowed — one associated with existing cannabis retailers, and the other standalone.
NCCB issued 20 licenses in late 2022 for retail cannabis consumption lounges to dispensary owners who will operate lounges attached to or adjacent to their establishments. In a November 2022 lottery process, the NCCB issued 40 licenses, 20 for standalone consumption lounges and 20 for existing retail licenses, half of which were social equity applicants. A'esha Goins, Chair of Equity and Inclusion on the state's Cannabis Advisory Commission started a training program, attended by four of the ten licensees, to help navigate the cannabis system and create business models as new business owners in a budding industry.
State law did not specify how many dispensaries would be licensed but did so for independent operators.
Applicants for business licenses must outline safety protocols, including impaired driving prevention and ventilation. Menu items must be provided and will get inspected by authorities. Businesses must stop serving products two hours before close.
Governor Steve Sisolak stated, “The idea isn’t new, but no one is doing it like we are in Nevada. While most of the consumption lounges in other states don’t offer food, beverages or other entertainment options, Nevada’s lounges will be a one-stop entertainment shop to create jobs, grow the industry and boost our economy.”
Nevada nets over $900 million in cumulative cannabis tax revenue, most of proceeds go toward funding schools
According to the NCCB, both medical and adult-use cannabis totaled $965 million in sales during the 2022 fiscal year. Since sales began in 2017, Nevada has netted more than $908 million in adult-use cannabis tax revenue — including both excise taxes and standard state sales taxes on cannabis sales.
2019’s SB 545 directed all revenue from the 10% retail excise tax to the Distributive School Account.
Nevada governor pardons over 15,000 people with low-level cannabis possession
In the spring of 2020, the Board of Pardons Commissioners approved a resolution proposed by then-Governor Steve Sisolak (D) to implement mass pardons for cannabis.
This measure extends clemency to those with possession convictions of up to one ounce from 1986-2017. Pardons may not void convictions but they restore rights like having the ability to vote, own a firearm, or serve on a jury.
Those eligible for the pardon may submit a form for expedited processing of documentation reflecting their status change. This process is free and available online. See here for more information on pardon eligibility.
Nevada Supreme Court ruling protects employees from medical cannabis use outside of work hours
Nevada, alongside most of the country, has legalized cannabis for medical use.
In late 2022, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled medical cannabis patients can sue employers if they were fired for cannabis use outside of the office. The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in November 2019 by Jim Roushkolb in the Eighth District Court.
Roushkolb used cannabis to relieve PTSD symptoms and anxiety from a physical attack he suffered, but in 2018 his employer, Freeman Expositions LLC, terminated him for testing positive for THC despite knowing that he’s a legal medical cannabis patient.
Freeman Expositions lost this case and set a precedent for the protection of medical cannabis users across the state.
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Lawmakers make major improvements to cannabis policy in 2019.
Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed into law three notable bills to improve cannabis policies this year. Here is a quick overview and why they are so important:
AB 132 prohibits most employers from denying applicants a job if cannabis shows up on a pre-employment drug test. This bill addresses a big concern — cannabis use can be detected for weeks after ingestion, meaning drug screens in no way correlate with impairment. So far, states have…