A Las Vegas marijuana possession attorney knows the various circumstances that can result in a defendant facing marijuana possession charges. There is the standard drug possession charge due to a certain amount of marijuana being found on your person, in your car, in your house, or anywhere on your property. If marijuana is found in your system during a drug test or after an arrest for suspected DUI (driving under the influence), the prosecuting attorney may file marijuana possession charges against you because they assume you have been in possession of marijuana.
Were you arrested for marijuana in Vegas? Contact De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers to get help from our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys!
Recreational Marijuana Is Legal in Nevada
Recreational marijuana is legal in Nevada – but just because it is legal, that does not mean you can carry as much marijuana as you want or consume it in any location. The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board outlines the regulations for possessing and consuming cannabis:
- Adults aged 21 and older may purchase marijuana from a state-licensed retail store
- Adults must show proper identification to prove their age at the time of purchase
- Adults may possess up to one ounce of cannabis or one-eighth of an ounce of concentrated cannabis
- Adults may consume cannabis only at a private property, never in public, and only with the owner’s permission
- Adults may not consume marijuana in a moving vehicle, even as a passenger
These regulations mean that while you can legally possess marijuana in Las Vegas, you must be careful about where you consume it. Unless you are at your home that you own, you need the owner’s permission to use marijuana, and all property owners have the right to forbid marijuana use. Because you cannot use marijuana in public, this means you cannot use it in:
- Hotels or hotel rooms
- College dorms
- Schools and universities
- Rental homes
- Common areas of apartment buildings
- Office buildings
- Public restrooms
- Federal property (because federal law prohibits all marijuana use)
Marijuana Lounges in Las Vegas
In June 2021, KNPR Radio reported that Governor Steve Sisolak signed a law allowing the development of recreational marijuana consumption lounges. These venues will allow patrons to purchase and consume marijuana products in a tavern-like environment. Because marijuana use is prohibited in hotels and casinos, tourists cannot consume marijuana in Las Vegas right now – but marijuana lounges will allow visitors to legally consume marijuana in Las Vegas in the near future.
State regulations will place certain restrictions on these marijuana lounges. The lounges will not serve alcohol. They also will not be located within 1,000 feet of a school, 300 feet of a community facility, or 1,500 feet of a business with a non-restricted gaming license (such as a casino).
This law went into effect on October 1, 2021, but no marijuana lounges have opened yet in Las Vegas. The first lounges are likely to open by mid-2022.
Medical Marijuana Is Legal in Nevada
Medical marijuana is legal in Nevada for adults aged 21 and older who have a valid medical marijuana card. Nevada also recognizes medical marijuana cards from other states.
According to the Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association, medical marijuana users must follow these rules:
- Carry your medical marijuana card plus another form of identification to purchase medical marijuana
- Only purchase marijuana from a state-licensed dispensary
- Follow the legal limit for medical marijuana possession, which is 2.5 ounces for 14 days
- Do not use medical marijuana in a public place, including hotel rooms
- Do not drive or operate a boat
- Do not carry a firearm
- Do not sell or share your medical marijuana
You Can Have Prior Marijuana Convictions Sealed
In 2019, the Nevada Legislature passed Assembly Bill 192, which allows people convicted of a crime that has since been decriminalized to petition to have their records sealed. According to the Office of the Attorney General, if you were previously convicted of possessing less than one ounce of marijuana, you can petition the state to have your criminal records sealed because marijuana possession is now legal.
If you have a conviction for possession of more than one ounce of marijuana, you may still be able to petition to have your records sealed. NRS 179.245 allows people with prior convictions to ask for their records to be sealed after:
- Waiting a certain period (typically 2-5 years, depending on the conviction) after being released from custody or discharged from parole or probation
- Having no new pending charges or convictions other than minor traffic violations
A marijuana defense lawyer in Las Vegas with experience in petitioning the court to have records sealed can help determine if and when you should ask for your records to be sealed. Once your records are sealed, you can:
- Mark “no convictions” when you apply for a job
- Hold office
- Serve on a jury
Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Nevada
Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana is considered a Class E felony offense in Las Vegas, according to NRS. 453.336. You may be in danger of facing such harsh penalties as 1-4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, per NRS 193.130. If this is your first offense, it may be possible to be granted probation and drug rehabilitation in lieu of imprisonment, but this will vary on a case-by-case basis.
Even though recreational and medical marijuana use is legal in Nevada, you can still be arrested for marijuana possession in Las Vegas. Because public consumption of marijuana is illegal, you will face misdemeanor charges if you are caught using marijuana in public. According to NRS 193.150, misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 and/or not more than six months in the county jail.
Our marijuana defense attorney in Las Vegas can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your arrest and the charges against you. We may be able to help you avoid serious penalties for marijuana possession.
Penalties for Trafficking Marijuana In Las Vegas
If you are arrested with more than 50 pounds of marijuana or one pound or more of concentrated cannabis, you will be charged with drug trafficking. NRS 453.339 outlines the penalties for drug trafficking. These penalties vary with the amount of marijuana or concentrated cannabis seized at the time of your arrest, but may include fines ranging from $25,000 to $200,000 and a prison sentence of two years to life in prison.
Marijuana Is Still Illegal Under Federal Law
While many states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use or both, it is still a controlled substance under federal law as defined by 21 US Code 844. US Code 844a states that possession of even a small amount of marijuana for personal use is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000.
21 US Code 862 outlines the consequences of a federal drug conviction. For a first offense, you will be ineligible for federal benefits for up to one year and must complete a drug treatment program and community service. For subsequent offenses, you will be ineligible for federal benefits for up to five years and may also have to complete a drug treatment program and community service, at the discretion of the judge.
While it is unlikely that federal prosecutors will choose to enforce federal marijuana laws in Las Vegas, it is possible. A criminal defense lawyer with experience in handling federal drug cases may be able to help you avoid stiff penalties from a federal drug conviction.
A Criminal Defense Lawyer Will Fight for Your Rights
Depending on the charges against you, you may face steep fines and a lengthy prison sentence if you are convicted of marijuana possession. Even in Las Vegas, you cannot afford to take a gamble when it comes to fighting marijuana charges. A criminal defense lawyer with experience in handling marijuana possession cases can help you fight back against these charges and stand up for your legal rights.
To craft a legal strategy tailored to your needs, our lawyer will investigate the details surrounding your arrest before determining the best approach to your case. Below are some strategies that our lawyer may use:
Claim that you were not aware of the marijuana
If marijuana was found on your property but not on your person, our lawyer can argue that you were never in possession of the drug. For example, if marijuana was found in an area that is not exclusively yours, such as a home you share with other people, we can argue that you had no knowledge of the drug.
Challenge the legality of a search or arrest warrant
The police cannot search a person, home, or car without a valid reason. The United States Courts provide information about the Fourth Amendment, which protects people from unlawful search and seizure. Here are more details about what the police can and cannot do:
- Your person: The police can stop and question you if they observe suspicious behavior by you that leads them to believe you possess marijuana.
- Your home: The police cannot search your home or seize your property without a warrant unless someone gives them permission to search it, the search is part of another arrest, they have probable cause, or there are marijuana-related items in plain view.
- Your car: The police can only make a traffic stop if they suspect a traffic violation or criminal activity. They can only search your car with a warrant or if there is probable cause that it contains evidence of criminal activity. However, the police can set up stop points to detect drunk driving, pat down drivers and passengers stopped for a valid traffic violation, and use narcotics detection dogs to sniff around your car without prior suspicion.
Our lawyer can investigate the details of the search that revealed marijuana to challenge the police’s claim that they had the right to search you or your property.
File a motion to suppress the evidence against you
If our lawyer successfully argues that the police never had the right to search you or your property, we will file a motion to suppress the evidence against you. Evidence that was obtained illegally cannot be used against you in a court of law. If the evidence against you is suppressed, the prosecution may not be able to build a case against you and drop all charges.
Other Ways That a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You
Our team will work hard to defend you against marijuana charges and help you get the best possible outcome. Our criminal defense lawyer in Las Vegas can investigate your arrest by interviewing eyewitnesses, gathering surveillance, traffic, and body camera footage, obtaining phone records, collecting police reports, and more. Our goal is to find evidence that supports the defense we craft for you.
If the evidence against you is strong, a plea bargain may be your best option. We may be able to have your charges reduced or even dismissed. NRS 453.3363 allows the court to discharge and dismiss the charges against first-time offenders after they complete a drug education program or treatment program.
Arrested in Las Vegas on Marijuana Charges?
Have you been arrested or are you facing marijuana possession charges? Depending on the amount that was allegedly in your possession and any prior convictions for marijuana possession, you may face misdemeanor or felony charges. Under the law, possession charges can be waged against an individual in lieu of the discovery of marijuana within the confines of their personal property, including their home, vehicle, or any other property that they have authority over.
Make sure your legal rights are well-protected in the face of weak or unfounded marijuana possession allegations or criminal charges. De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers has defended countless clients against drug charges, and a Las Vegas marijuana possession attorney at our firm is ready and more than capable of addressing your situation.
When your freedom and future are on the line, you cannot risk your case to a public defender. Call our team today at 702-805-2694 today to request a case review with our team.