Nevada voters end marijuana prohibition!
Last update: November 9, 2016
On November 8, 2016, 55% of Nevada voters approved Question 2, which legalizes, taxes, and regulates marijuana for adults 21 and older.
The Marijuana Policy Project played a leading role in the campaign, which faced well-financed opposition, including $3.5 million from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Many thanks to everyone who volunteered, donated, talked to friends and family, and voted! We couldn’t have done it without you.
MPP will now shift its focus to implementation of the new law.
Medical marijuana program continues to grow
The state’s medical marijuana program continues its rapid growth. As of October 2016, about 23,375 patients were registered in the program — a figure that has well more than doubled since mid-2015. State officials attribute the growth to the availability of regulated dispensaries, many of which started operations in 2015 and earlier this year.
How do medical marijuana patients visiting Nevada get access while in the state?
One of the positive features of Nevada’s medical marijuana law is that the state recognizes the patient status of non-residents who are qualified under their state government’s laws. Current rules require out-of-state visiting patients to visit a Nevada dispensary to sign an affidavit and receive instructions from dispensary staff in order to be protected. At that point, state law will protect qualified visitors who make purchases at state-licensed stores.
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.
Thank you for supporting MPP. To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Nevada, be sure to subscribe to MPP’s free legislative alert service.