Ah, Las Vegas the City of Sin. And, now the City of Cannabis! Sure, cannabis laws in Nevada aren’t nearly as liberal as our alcohol laws, but at least weed is legal — something most of the country still can’t claim.
To give you some background, Nevada voters made history on Nov. 8, 2016, by legalizing recreational cannabis which produced the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. Officially, cannabis became legal on Jan. 1, 2017, but sales didn’t start until July.
Under the act, anyone over 21 years of age can purchase, possess, and consume recreational cannabis, however, it’s not a free-for-all. There are still numerous laws governing how consumers can acquire pot, how much they can possess, where they can consume, and who can cultivate their own cannabis.
In this article, we will cover Las Vegas marijuana laws (as defined by the state), including your rights, as well as what you can’t do and what the penalties are if you break the law.
Keep in mind that this guide should not be construed as legal advice. We provide this document as general information; for advice, you should consult an attorney. Further, while we make every attempt to maintain this page to keep up with changing and evolving regulations, you should also consult the official state website for new laws or changes to existing laws.
While the sale of cannabis is legal, that doesn’t mean you can buy pot from anyone. In fact, the only legal way to buy weed is from a state-licensed retail shop or dispensary. (Gifting weed, however, is another story.) Just like alcohol, to buy pot you’ll need to furnish identification proving you’re at least 21.
Here’s what ya need to know…
Las Vegas Marijuana Laws: Buying, Possessing, Growing Weed
Who can buy weed in Las Vegas?
Anyone who is over 21 years of age, including Nevada residents and visitors, can possess up to one ounce of flower or ⅛ of an ounce of concentrates
What about paraphernalia (pipes, bongs, cultivation equipment or materials, etc.)?
Under current law, it’s legal to buy, own, use, or sell cannabis paraphernalia.
Can I gift cannabis to a friend?
Yes. You can gift up to an ounce of flower or ⅛ of concentrates to a friend. But, they cannot pay for it.
So, wait. I can gift weed to a friend, but can I reimburse a friend going on a “pot run?”
Technically, no. If a buddy goes on a “pot run,” unlike a “beer run,” you can’t “legally” pay him or her back, as that would be construed as an illegal sales transaction. Where it gets murky is, what if you give your friend money before they go on the run?
In practice, the chances you’d run into legal issues are pretty slim. But, why risk it? Just go down to the retail store or dispensary with them.
Can I consume cannabis in public?
No. If you smoke (or consume in any detectable way) marijuana in a public place, including retail stores or as a passenger in a car, you can be charged for a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of up to $600.
Where Can I Smoke (or Consume) Cannabis?
You can smoke on private property. If you own a house, you can smoke there. You can also consume on other private property if you have permission from the property owner.
Can I Get Drug Tested By My Employer for Marijuana Use?
Yes. Public or private employers are not prohibited from creating a workplace policy prohibiting or restricting cannabis use despite it being legal under the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. However, with the destigmatization of cannabis and expansion of its legality, fewer and fewer companies are testing for pot use. Given the low unemployment rates, this trend should continue, if not accelerate.
Home grows are not legal in Las Vegas, however, it is legal to grow your own in other parts of the state under the following conditions:
- You live more than 25 miles away from a cannabis retailer.
- You grow your plants outside of public view and the area is locked and secure. That means you can grow inside a room, greenhouse, closet, or any other area that is enclosed and locked or secured with a security device.
- You grow no more than 6 plants per person in the household, with a maximum of 12 plants per household.
- You must either own the property or have been granted permission by your landlord or legal owner.
If you violate any of the above conditions, you could be charged as follows:
- First violation: Your first violation would be a misdemeanor that would be punished with a maximum fine of $600.
- Second violation: For your second violation, you could be punished with a fine of up to $1,000.
- Third violation: Third violations escalate from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor.
- Fourth (or subsequent) violation: At this point, it would be considered a Category E felony.
No person under 21 can buy, possess, or consume retail/recreational cannabis. The penalties for minors violating the laws can be pretty severe in Las Vegas or anywhere in Nevada.
Here are potential scenarios and their associated penalties for minors:
- Anyone who falsely represents themselves as being 21+ while attempting to acquire pot can be charged with a misdemeanor.
- Minors (with the exception of legal patients) who knowingly enter or loiter at any sort of cannabis-related establishment (e.g. cannabis retailers) can be fined up to $500.
- It’s illegal for anyone to sell or gift cannabis to anyone under 21. The charges and financial penalties can vary depending on the severity of the incident.
The many different forms of cannabis available present some unique challenges for parents, particularly since many cannabis products can look like ordinary candy that a child might accidentally consume. Kids can easily mistake edibles for ordinary treat making it critically important for parents to take precautions to ensure their kids don’t access any of their cannabis products.
Common sense isn’t as common as we might think. So, if you’re a parent or you have kids in your household, here are some practical steps you can take
1. Safely and securely store cannabis products
- Keep all your products in packaging that is CLEARLY LABELED and CHILD-RESISTANT.
- Make sure all your pot products are locked and secured; consider using a locked cabinet or box and put in a place where kids or teens can’t reach.
- Keep in mind that what works with younger children may not be as effective with older kids; if you have curious teens, you may need to be more creative in keeping it away from them.
2. Talk to your kids about cannabis openly and honestly
It’s important that you talk to your kids about the safety and dangers associated with kids and cannabis. Shockingly, according to a 2013 study conducted (well before legalization) found that nearly 10% of high-school students had their first experience with cannabis at age 12 (or younger).
It’s important to be open with your kids and communicate honestly with them. Of course, how and what you say to your kids depends on their age. To learn more on how to best communicate with kids of different ages, visit Nevada’s “Keeping Kids Safe” website.
Driving under the influence of cannabis in Las Vegas is serious, and in the eyes of the law, driving drunk or stoned is the same. However, when police test for THC, the technology is so imprecise that you could get flagged even if you haven’t used cannabis for several days. Given this reality, you really shouldn’t consume any cannabis before driving (even if under the legal limit), because in the event that you were to get charged with DUI, it will be much harder to defend yourself if you’ve consumed even the slightest amount of cannabis versus having consumed no cannabis at all.
More importantly, despite persistent myths, driving after using cannabis is much more dangerous than many people think; while studies suggest cannabis is (probably) not as dangerous as alcohol when you drive, cannabis impairs your ability to react quickly and impairment of any kind can dramatically increase your chances of getting into a severe or fatal car accident.
There’s a long-held myth that mixing weed with driving isn’t really all that bad. Afterall, unlike being under the influence of alcohol, cannabis users don’t usually drive all that erratically or speed crazily. Sure, this may be true in many cases, the problem is that you can’t control everything in your environment. So while you may think you’re driving responsibly, if something occurs beyond your control — like having to swerve to avoid a hazard — your ability to react is far worse than if you’re totally sober.
Remember, you really can’t accurately assess your level of impairment, no matter what you may think. The best advice is that if you plan to use weed — just like alcohol — make other arrangements for your transportation. Thankfully, we have share riding services like Lyft that are cheap and easy. With these services, there’s really no excuse for driving under the influence.
Laws and Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
Under Nevada DUI laws, drivers are considered under the influence of marijuana if they meet either of the following conditions:
- Cannabis impaired the driver’s ability to operate a car safely
- The driver’s blood contains at least 2 nanograms per ml. of marijuana (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) or 5 nanograms per ml. of marijuana metabolite (11-OH-tetrahydrocannabinol).
Just like drunk driving, the penalties for stoned driving can be severe:
- Jail: 2 days to 6 months (or 24 to 96 hours of community service)
- Nevada DUI School: You have to pay for this at your expense
- Fines: $400 to $1,000 and court costs
- Nevada Victim Impact Panel
- License Suspension: The state will suspend your license for 90 days.
If you want to learn more about the risks and consequences of driving under the influence of cannabis, visit Nevada’s Zero Fatalities Website.
We hope this guide provides you with a solid overview of Las Vegas cannabis laws. We know, it can seem overwhelming, but it’s really not. Basically, to follow the law, it boils down to the following:
- Don’t smoke weed in public
- Don’t drive after consuming
- Don’t grow your own unless you live at least 25 miles from a pot shop and you own your property (or have permission from the owner)
- Do buy weed from a licensed establishment like NuWu Cannabis
Do you like deals? Who doesn’t? Make sure to check out NuWu’s deals and specials pages!