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Nevada pushes ahead with marijuana clubs
An early start to recreational marijuana sales in Nevada cleared the final state hurdle Monday, paving the way for the program to roll out in under two months. The Nevada Tax Commission adopted temporary regulations proposed by the Department of Taxation that will allow the state to issue recreational marijuana licenses by July 1. Most of the regulations were copied from the state’s medical marijuana program. Tax department director Deonne Contine stressed the urgency in getting the regulations adopted so the state can meet Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed budget request, which includes $70 million from recreational marijuana taxes over two years. ADVERTISING “If we don’t adopt the regulations, we will not have a temporary program. If we don’t have a temporary program, we will not have the revenue that’s included in the governor’s budget,” Contine said. For the marijuana industry, Monday’s decision means lifeblood. “Its great for the state. It’s great for the industry. I think its great for everybody,” said Armen Yemenidjian, owner of Essence Cannabis dispensaries. “This is a display in how Nevada gets things done.” The state’s stamp of approval shifts the focus to local governments. Marijuana companies need both a state and local license to operate. Clark County is scheduled to begin licensing by July 1, and officials for the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas said Monday both municipalities plan to do the same. Henderson could be the outlier, however. The city council implemented a 6-month moratorium on any marijuana licenses in February, meaning recreational sales by the five dispensaries in the city cannot happen until at least August. Potential snag Not everyone was happy with the regulations adopted Monday, and a group that wants exclusive rights on transporting recreational pot from growing facility to retail shops could cause a snag in rolling out the early start. Sam McMullen, representing the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada, said the ballot measure voters approved in November gave currently licensed liquor distributors an 18-month monopoly on marijuana distribution licenses. Contine said “we fundamentally disagree with what Mr. McMullen has said.” The department will accept applications from liquor distributors, medical marijuana companies and medical marijuana distributors. Contine said they decided to open the applications beyond liquor distributors because of the potential conflict with federal licenses. Liquor distributors are licensed federally. And like banks or casinos, choosing to participate in a market that is federally illegal could jeopardize that license, Contine said. McMullen said his clients are aware of the risk, and added that “they’re totally willing to apply.” When the issue first arose in March, McMullen told the tax department his clients were considering taking legal action to protect their exclusivity on the distribution licenses. When reached by phone Monday, McMullen said his clients were considering their options and that he would meet with them within the next day or two. Jamie Munks contributed to this report.
Nevada lawmakers back blood-only detection of marijuana DUIs
As of November 8th, 2016, both recreational and medical marijuana are legal in Nevada. Recreational users who are 21 years of age and older will soon be able to purchase up to 1 ounce of cannabis (or up to 1/8 ounce of concentrate) at a time. Who can purchase marijuana in Nevada? Thanks to the passing of Question 2, recreational marijuana will be officially legal for people who are 21 years of age and older. Anyone 18 years and older with a valid medical marijuana card can purchase cannabis legally in Nevada, even if the card has been issued from another state. Minors can also qualify for a medical card as long as a parent or guardian signs the Minor Release Form and agrees to act as the child's primary caregiver. Purchasing Limits Although details for recreational purchases are still being ironed out, expect to be able to purchase up to one ounce of cannabis flower or up to 1/8 of an ounce of concentrate at one time from recreational dispensaries. Note a 15% excise tax will be added to every purchase. Those with a valid medical marijuana card who are at least 18 years old and older (or their caregivers) can purchase up to 2.5 ounces worth of useable marijuana within a two-week period (14 days). This includes flower, edibles, concentrates, topicals -- basically, anything containing cannabis that could get a person high. Currently the definition of “useable” is being debated, as it’s an ambiguous term. Calculations for this limit are based on the total weight of cannabinoids in a product. For example, if a patient wishes to purchase five 100 milligram candy bars, he or she will be able to purchase the remaining weight in flower, concentrates or topicals (which equals around 2.48 ounces of usable marijuana) within a 14-day period. Although patients can shop at multiple dispensaries, purchases are tracked in real-time throughout the state to prevent purchases of more than 2.5 ounces every 14 days. Get your MMJ card - $59 Where to Purchase Marijuana in Nevada A handful of licensed medical dispensaries are now open in Nevada, with recreational shops opening soon. Check out our Nevada dispensary directory for the current complete list. More licensed medical dispensaries and a few hundred licensed growers and producers are expected to open, so there will be plenty of places to find medical marijuana in Nevada at an affordable price. Recreational dispensaries will be determined by county size, with 80 being allocated to Clark County, 20 to Washoe County, four to Carson County and two to the additional 14 counties. Most dispensaries will be found in highly populated areas like Las Vegas and Reno, with the remaining ones sprinkled throughout the rest of the state. Note that liquor distributors will have a monopoly on licenses for the first 18 months, although medical marijuana shops will be first to market to sell cannabis for the same time period. Store Hours Dispensary store hours must be authorized by local governments, be in operation during and only during their established timeframe and have their store hours clearly posted at all times. Store hours vary based on local government regulations. For example, Las Vegas allows medical dispensaries to operate between the hours of 6:00am and 10:00pm, while Reno dispensaries may be permitted to stay open as late as midnight. Where can you consume marijuana in Nevada? Cannabis consumption is for private use only. It is illegal to smoke in public, on federal land or in a vehicle without risking a fine. There are some hotels that allow tobacco smoke, but most will not permit marijuana use because of concerns regarding conflicting federal law. This is especially true of casinos that work hard to meet gaming regulations, which makes them less likely to want to "gamble" with federal marijuana law. Although there has been some discussion about opening a few marijuana resorts on Las Vegas Boulevard in the future, it's always best to keep a low profile when consuming cannabis in Nevada. Those caught violating public consumption laws in Nevada will be charged with a misdemeanor which is punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. The ruling judge may assign community service in addition to or in lieu of both jail time and fines. Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Nevada Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal in Nevada and could result in a fine, potential community service and even jail time. Law enforcement officials will determine if a person is under the influence of marijuana by requesting either a urine sample, blood sample or field sobriety test. If the urine sample shows at least ten nanograms of marijuana per milliliter (or 15 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolite) or the blood test shows two nanograms of marijuana per milliliter (or five nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolite), the person will be considered high "per-se," though this can often be contested in court. Transporting Marijuana When marijuana is being transported in a vehicle, it should be in a sealed container away from the driver and any minor passengers. Failure to do so could result in an “Open Container” fine or, in the case of minors in the vehicle, the much more severe citation “aggravating circumstance.” It is also illegal to take marijuana across state lines even if the next destination also has legal marijuana laws because of different marijuana regulations in each state. Exporting Marijuana The U.S. Postal Service should never be used as a cannabis delivery system. All mail is subject to search, especially if it smells like marijuana. If an employee at the post office notices an odd or suspicious package, they are required to report it to the proper authorities. If they decide that there is something illegal in the package, they might still deliver it and then arrest the addressee for sending contraband through the mail. Consumption by Minors Unless the minor has a valid medical marijuana recommendation, it is illegal for him or her to consume cannabis and cannabis-infused products and could result in a misdemeanor. Those caught distributing marijuana-related products to minors are punishable with a minimum one-year sentence for first time offenses and up to life in prison (with potential parole after five years) for subsequent offenses. Cultivation As party of the passing of Question 2, growing at home will be banned within 25 miles of any dispensary, effectively blocking most of the population of Nevada from growing their own flower.