November 05, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Marijuana dispensaries are legal; possession of marijuana is illegal--Catch-22?
It has been a torturous journey. Under a constitutional amendment, ratified by Nevada voters in 2000, the legislature was directed to provide by law for appropriate methods for supply of marijuana to patients authorized to use it. In March 2012, the Nevada Legislature had still not acted and a Clark County District Court judge declared the state's law allowing medical marijuana distribution unconstitutional calling it "ridiculous" and "absurd." Judge Donald Mosley dismissed a drug trafficking case against two defendants who said they had supplied the herb to patients unable to grow it themselves. The defense argued that the only way a patient could legally possess marijuana was to first commit a crime to obtain it.
That has now changed. On June 12, 2013, Gov. Brian Sandoval signed S.B. 374 into law. This new law finally fulfills the Nevada Constitution's mandate. The bill allows for a total of up to 66 licensed and regulated dispensaries in the state. Application and annual fees apply for each type of medical marijuana business which can be both for-profit or nonprofit. The bill also increases possession limits for patients from one ounce at any given time to two and one-half ounces during a 14-day period and allows current patients to continue to cultivate until March 31, 2016. In addition, patients may cultivate if they do not live near a dispensary, if they cannot travel to one, or if the dispensaries near them do not have an adequate supply of marijuana or of the strain that works for the patient. The Las Vegas Journal notes that this is all for the benefit of 3,785 medical marijuana patients in the state, although if the recent history of other states holds true, there will probably be a lot more.
However, it is a still a crime
to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana (including small amounts) for personal use in Nevada. Penalties vary according to the amount possessed, and whether the offense was a first or subsequent violation. For a first offense possession of one ounce is punishable by a $600 fine instead of jail time, but it remains a misdemeanor, and the individual is subject to arrest and drug addiction screening that could lead to mandatory treatment and rehabilitation. A second offense carries a $1,000 fine and drug-addiction screening. A third offense carries a fine of up to $2,000, up to one year in jail, or both. A fourth or subsequent offense carries a fine of up to $5,000, between one and four years in prison, or both. Possession of marijuana by anyone 20 years old or younger is a Class E Felony
, which may require one to four years jail time and a maximum fine of $5,000.
The State sets forth various guidelines based upon whether the charge is for possession of marijuana or its sale or cultivation. The consequences also factor in the amount and whether it is a first time or repeat offense. Therefore, the state statues simply set forth guidelines and each individual sentence may vary based on the particular facts and circumstances, the individual's personal criminal record, and even which judge is completing the sentencing. Marijuana penalties are set forth below.
Penalties for Possession
-Less than one ounce (first offense): Misdemeanor charge, incarceration of up to six months in jail and max fine of $600.
-Less than one ounce (second offense): Misdemeanor charge, incarceration of up to six months in jail and max fine of $1,000.
-Less than one ounce (third offense): Gross misdemeanor charge, incarceration of one year and max fine of $2,000.
-Less than one ounce (fourth offense): Class E felony, incarceration of one to four years and max fine of $4,000.
Penalties for Sale or Cultivation
-Less than 100 pounds (first offense): Felony charge, incarceration of one to six years and max fine of $20,000.
-Less than 100 pounds (second offense): Felony charge, incarceration of two to 10 years and max fine of $20,000.
-Less than 100 pounds (subsequent offense): Felony charge, incarceration of three to 15 years and max fine of $20,000.
-100 to 2,000 pounds: Felony charge, incarceration of one to five years and max fine of $25,000.
-2,000 to 10,000 pounds: Felony charge, incarceration of two to twenty years and max fine of $50,000.
-More than 10,000 pounds: Felony charge, incarceration for life with possible parole after five years or five to 15 years and max fine of $200,000.
-To a minor (first offense): Felony charge, incarceration of one to 20 years and a variable max fine.
-To a minor (second offense): Felony charge, incarceration for life with possible parole after five years or five to 15 years and a variable max fine.
-Within 1,000 feet of school or other specified areas: Felony charge, double the time of incarceration and max fine of penalties of initial sale of marijuana charge.
Penalties for Paraphernalia
-Paraphernalia possession: Misdemeanor charge, incarceration of up to six months and max fine of $1,000.
Should you have questions about the new medical marijuana law, or find yourself under a drug charge for possession or distribution, seek the advice of an experienced Nevada criminal attorney.
Article provided by Mace J. Yampolsky & Associates
Visit us at www.macelaw.com