Marijuana first became legal for medical use in Nevada in 2000, but patients had to grow their own. In 2013, the Nevada Legislature authorized a state regulated commercial marijuana industry and since then it’s been a rapidly growing business. There are, however, a lot of pitfalls to avoid, and those who enter this industry should be aware of the risks.
Before you consider jumping into this new and emerging industry, there are a number of important things that should know. Let’s explore the top five things you must know about marijuana law in Nevada, and why it’s a good idea to have a knowledgeable lawyer in your corner.
Things to Know about Marijuana Law in Nevada
There are five important things that every business owner should know about marijuana law in Nevada before undertaking this venture. First, it’s still federally illegal even though the state permits it. Second, you require an Agent Card to work in the industry or to hold a license. Third, it’s under the auspices of both the state and local governments. Fourth, it’s very highly regulated. Finally, the laws are constantly changing.
Marijuana is Still Federally Illegal
That’s right; marijuana is still federally illegal. As a schedule 1 drug under controlled substances act, it is illegal to use, possess, grow or sell marijuana under federal law. State law cannot trump federal law pursuant to the Supremacy Clause in the United States Constitution. Understand that being involved in the marijuana industry could land you in serious trouble.
You Need an Agent Card
You must have an Agent Card to work in the industry or to hold a license to do so. This card is issued to those who have passed a criminal background check and paid the relevant fees. To pass, you must have no felony offenses or drug trafficking charges where the term of probation or incarceration was not completed more than ten years ago. Thus, if you had a felony conviction in 2000, and you were released from incarceration, probation or parole in 2005, you should be eligible to hold an agent card by 2015.
Regulated at State and Local Levels
At the state level, cannabis is regulated by the Department of Taxation. This department oversees the issuing of licenses and Agent Cards, as well as the regulation of businesses. Local governments also grant zoning and land use permits and inspect and oversee business operations. Since there are a number of local jurisdictions, businesses operate differently in different places so take the time to learn what regulations apply to your business in each jurisdiction that you operate.
Cannabis is Highly Regulated
Nevada takes regulation very seriously, our marijuana industry is regulated similar to our famous gaming industry. Like the gaming industry, owners and employees of cannabis businesses are thoroughly vetted. Inventory is regulated and tracked from seed through sales through a comprehensive reporting system. You need to know all the rules that apply to your business, and failure to obey them can result in losing your license as well as other penalties.
Constantly Evolving Laws
Marijuana law in Nevada is often a moving target. Since the inception of this program in 2013, regulations are regularly drafted, revised, and new policies published by the dept. of health and the tax department.
Work with a Qualified Attorney
For these reasons and more, it’s essential to have a team working with you who are well-versed in marijuana laws to keep you above board, and make sure that you’re always in compliance with these laws. In Nevada, that’s the law firm of Connor & Connor, PLLC. Give us a call for a consultation about your business today.