Medical Marijuana Laws in Nevada
Perhaps you are facing legal issues in Nevada relating to medical marijuana. The attorneys at Connor & Connor PLLC. provide legal advice and services to Nevada businesses and patients regarding Nevada’s medical marijuana laws and administrative regulations. We have provided the following list of frequently asked questions and a summary of Nevada’s medical marijuana laws.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Nevada?
The answer depends which government you are dealing with. Without getting too deep into a history lesson, our republic is made up of 50 state governments and the Federal Government of the United States of America through the concept of “Federalism”. Historically most governmental power was vested in the states, but in the latter part of the 19th century our nation saw an unprecedented shift in power to the Federal Government at the expense of the sates. With regard to medical marijuana, is important to understand that the Federal Government of the United States prohibits marijuana possession, transportation, cultivation or use for any purpose. Thus, in the eyes of the Federal Government, marijuana is almost always illegal. However, many state governments have changed their laws to allow for the use of marijuana for medical purposes. On November 7, 2000, sixty five percent of voters in Nevada chose to amend the State Constitution to allow for the use of marijuana for medical purposes making Nevada one of the few states that has enshrined a right to use marijuana for medical purposes in its Constitution. Article IV Section 38 of the Constitution of the State of Nevada states:
Use of plant of genus Cannabis for medical purposes.
- The legislature shall provide by law for:
- The use by a patient, upon the advice of his physician, of a plant of the genus Cannabis for the treatment or alleviation of cancer, glaucoma, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; severe, persistent nausea of cachexia resulting from these or other chronic or debilitating medical conditions; epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizure; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscular spasticity; or other conditions approved pursuant to law for such treatment.
- Restriction of the medical use of the plant by a minor to require diagnosis and written authorization by a physician, parental consent, and parental control of the acquisition and use of the plant.
- Protection of the plant and property related to its use from forfeiture except upon conviction or plea of guilty or nolo contendere for possession or use not authorized by or pursuant to this section.
- A registry of patients, and their attendants, who are authorized to use the plant for a medical purpose, to which law enforcement officers may resort to verify a claim of authorization and which is otherwise confidential.
- Authorization of appropriate methods for supply of the plant to patients authorized to use it.
- This section does not:
- Authorize the use or possession of the plant for a purpose other than medical or use for a medical purpose in public.
- Require reimbursement by an insurer for medical use of the plant or accommodation of medical use in a place of employment.
Nev. Const. Art IV § 38 .
MEDICAL MARIJUANA INQUIRY FORM
Accordingly, Nevada residents who suffer from certain “chronic or debilitating medical conditions” are allowed to possess marijuana under Nevada state law. Once an individual is granted permission to possess marijuana for medical purposes they will be issued a medical marijuana “Nevada Registry Identification Card”, commonly referred to simply as your “patient card”. Under Nevada Statute NRS 453A.140 the card is defined as, “a document issued by the State of Nevada or its designee that identifies: A person who is exempt from state prosecution for engaging in the medical use of marijuana; or the designated primary caregiver, if any, of a person described in subsection 1.”
What Medical Conditions Qualify as a Chronic or Debilitating Condition?
Under Nevada Revised Statute 453A.050 an individual must suffer from a “Chronic or Debilitating Medical Condition” which is defined as:
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS);
- A medical condition or treatment for a medical condition that produces, for a specific patient, one or more of the following:
- Persistent muscle spasms, including, without limitation, spasms caused by multiple sclerosis;
- Seizures, including, without limitation, seizures caused by epilepsy;
- Severe nausea; or
- Severe pain; or
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Any other medical condition or treatment for a medical condition that is:
- Classified as a chronic or debilitating medical condition by regulation of the Division; or
- Approved as a chronic or debilitating medical condition pursuant to a petition submitted in accordance with NRS 453A.710.
Under Nevada Revised Statute 453A.710, an individual may file a petition to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services requesting that a particular disease or condition be included among the qualifying diseases and conditions.
How Does an Individual Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card?
The state requires all patients wishing to use and possess marijuana for medical purposes to submit an application to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA REGISTRY NEW FEES EFFECTIVE APRIL 1, 2014
Due to Senate Bill 374 our fees have changed to the following:
- Application Request - $25
- Initial Application Registration-$75
- Renewal Application Registration- $75
Patients will also be required to submit the following:
- Valid documentation from attending physician stating:
- The Patient was diagnosed with chronic or debilitating medical condition
- Medical use of marijuana may mitigate symptoms or effects
- The Physician has explained possible risks and benefits
- The name, address, phone number, social security number, and date of birth of the Patient
- Proof of residency
- The name, address and phone number of person’s attending physician
- The Caregiver if person chooses to delegate at time of application
Once the application is submitted The Department of Health and Human Services will conduct a background check to determine if the applicant has ever been convicted of selling a controlled substance. The Department will also check the status of the medical provider who recommended the applicant for the program. There are several medical caregivers available in Nevada who can assist patients with their application. Once the application is approved the identification card is sent to the DMV to be issued to the successful applicant.
What can a holder of a medical marijuana card do without being prosecuted by the State of Nevada?
This is a critical question for holders of medical marijuana cards in Nevada, in essence this is what a patient can do without violating Nevada state law (remember, patients and caregivers are always subject to federal prosecution). The acts permitted are defined in Chapter 453 of the Nevada Revised Statutes. According to Nevada Statute, a person who is a holder of a valid marijuana is exempt from criminal prosecution for the following acts:
- Possession, delivery or production of marijuana;
- Possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia;
- Aiding and abetting another in the possession, delivery or production of marijuana;
- Aiding and abetting another in the possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia;
- Any combination of the acts described in paragraphs (a) to (d), inclusive; and
- Any other criminal offense in which the possession, delivery or production of marijuana or the possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia is an element.
What acts are prohibited by holders of medical marijuana cards?
Again, this is a critical issue for holders of medical marijuana cards. Nevada law specifically prohibits card holders from engaging in the following acts:
- Driving or operating a vehicle (including boats, aircraft or an ATV) while under the influence of marijuana
- Driving or operating a commercial vehicle while under the influence of marijuana
- Possessing a firearm while under the influence of marijuana in violation of paragraph (b) of subsection 1 of NRS 202.257
- Possessing or using marijuana in (1) Any public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view; or (2) Any local detention facility, county jail, state prison, reformatory or other correctional facility, including, without limitation, any facility for the detention of juvenile offenders.
- Delivering marijuana to another person who he or she knows is not lawfully allowed to possess marijuana.
- Delivering marijuana for consideration to any person, regardless of whether the recipient lawfully holds a registry identification card issued by the Division or its designee pursuant to NRS 453A.220 or 453A.250.
- Except as otherwise provided in NRS 453A.225 and in addition to any other penalty provided by law, if the Division determines that a person has willfully violated a provision of this chapter or any regulation adopted by the Division to carry out the provisions of this chapter, the Division may, at its own discretion, prohibit the person from obtaining or using a registry identification card for a period of up to 6 months.
Again it is important to understand that a person may still face prosecution under a litany of Federal Laws as the Federal Government does not recognize Nevada medical marijuana laws. State law will not protect you on federal property.
If an individual is licensed in another state can they possess marijuana for medical reasons in Nevada?
Effective April 1, 2014, Nevada has granted reciprocity to valid medical marijuana cardholders from other states. Nonresident patients with active marijuana patient cards in their home jurisdiction will be able to purchase marijuana from a Nevada marijuana dispensary as a medical patient under certain conditions. However, you must abide by Nevada’s laws while you are within the state of Nevada, including the maximum possession limits and restrictions on transfers.
Are employers required to make accommodations for medical marijuana users?
Pursuant to Nevada law employers must make reasonable accommodations to medical marijuana patients. However, there are some exceptions to this rule and remember that Nevada is an at-will employment state.
How much marijuana can patients possess?
Some Patients with valid cards may cultivate up to twelve (12) marijuana plants irrespective of the plant’s maturity or gender. However, the right to grow will be limited once state licensed dispensaries open up. Patients may also possess up to two ounces of usable marijuana or an equivalent amount of edibles or extracts as determined by the Nevada Division of Health.
Will your health insurance compensate you for costs associated with medical marijuana use?
No, Nevada law does not require health insurers to compensate their clients for any costs associated with producing or consuming marijuana for medical reasons.
Can you be evicted from housing for producing or using medical marijuana?
Nevada does not presently have a specific law governing whether you may be evicted from your residence as a result of the production or consumption of marijuana for medical reasons. However, people living in federally subsidized home (HUD Homes) may be evicted. Further, many residential lease contracts include restrictions on the use or production of illegal substances on the premises. Thus, you could be subject to a civil eviction by your landlord, but again this would be an area where you would need to seek the advice of an attorney.
What do you do if you are charged with marijuana possession?
If you are charged with possession of marijuana, you should contact one of the attorneys at Connor & Connor PLLC. immediately.
What if you need legal advice regarding medical marijuana?
If you have questions regarding medical marijuana possession, consumption or production you should contact the attorneys at Connor & Connor PLLC. immediately.