Essence Blog

Nevada's Medical Marijuana Program

Nevada’s Medical Marijuana Program Is Growing By Leaps and Bounds

If you are a proponent of medical marijuana, you may want to consider heading to Nevada – their medical marijuana program has grown, and continues to grow, substantially. In fact, based on information from the Division of Public and Behavioral Health, the program currently serves approximately 14,000 – 4,000 more than last year when licensed dispensaries began opening in the state. The report also states that the Department sees approximately 300 new patients every month and they estimate that they may soon serve as many as 60,000 patients.

While all this is going on, a campaign (Initiative Petition 1) has been launched that aims to make cannabis legal for adults 21 and over. In the documents, proponents are calling for the government to tax and regulate cannabis as if it were alcohol.

This campaign has gained some traction and has already been certified for this year’s ballot, which gives voters a chance to consider the initiative. However, since Nevada legislators did not adopt the measure last year (and are not planning to congregate this year), proponents will have to wait until next year to know if their campaign was truly successful.

Non-Resident Medical Marijuana Patients Can Access Their Treatment in Nevada

One of the biggest benefits of Nevada’s medical marijuana law is that it recognizes the patient status of out-of-state residents, providing that their home state has a cannabis law on the books. But, before you get too excited, it may interest you to know there are certain requirements that must be met before you are given the all-clear. For instance:

  • Patients must sign an affidavit
  • Patient must consult with the staff to receive instructions to stay protected.

After this is completed, you will be protected by state law and can purchase your treatment at any licensed dispensary.

Nevada’s Possession Laws: What You Need to Know

Did you know that Nevada is one of 20 states where possession of cannabis has been decriminalized for personal use? In addition, four of those states (Oregon, Alaska, Colorado, and Washington) have also adopted laws that tax, legalize, and regulate marijuana for those 21 years of age and older.

Still, it’s important to know that although Nevada has laxer laws than other states, in terms of marijuana possession, you can still be charged harshly if caught carrying an excessive amount. The penalties are as follows:

  • If this is your first charge, instead of jail time you may be charged with a misdemeanor and might have to pay a $600 fine. You may also be subject to arrest and drug addiction screening, which may lead to mandatory rehabilitation and treatment. A criminal conviction can have far-reaching consequences, such as a lifetime of discrimination that severely limits housing options and job opportunities.
  • A second offense will get you a $1,000 fine and you will have to undergo drug addiction screening.

The penalties get worse as the number of times you are arrested increase. Also, it may surprise you to know that if you get caught with 2 ounces of marijuana in Nevada, you can go to jail for 4 years.

In 2012, almost 10,000 people were arrested for either cited or arrested or cited for a cannabis-related crime, roughly 80% of these events involved possession. That same year, almost 90% of reported burglaries (including home invasions) and motor vehicle thefts went unsolved. It’s time for lawmakers to face the facts – especially since the majority of Americans now agree that alcohol is more harmful than marijuana. Thus, if fewer resources were spent on antiquated marijuanna prohibition laws, the police could focus on the crimes that are really harming our communities.

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