Amid gambling, clubs and a healthy nightlife, Las Vegas seems like the perfect place to indulge in cannabis.
But before making the drive to Nevada for a long weekend of getting high in Sin City, make sure you know the rules. And yes, there are rules.
Cannabis in Nevada
Nevada voters passed the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, or Ballot Question 2, in November 2016, making the sale and use of recreational marijuana legal for adults 21 and older as of Jan. 1, 2017.
Medical marijuana use became legal in the state in 2001, but medical marijuana sales didn’t begin until 2015. The Nevada Department of Taxation now oversees both medical marijuana and adult-use programs.
Even though marijuana is legal on a state level, federally it is deemed a controlled substance and not legal. Nevada’s official marijuana information website cautions that implications of this federal illegality could conflict with federally funded programs, including student financial aid and federally subsidized housing, as well as other areas involving federal oversight, including firearms purchase and federal land like national parks and military bases.
Where and How to Buy
Recreational marijuana can be purchased legally by those 21 and older at a state-licensed retailer or dispensary. Don’t forget to bring a government-issued identification to prove your age. And bring plenty of cash, since most retailers can’t deal with banks because of marijuana’s status as a Scheduled I controlled substance.
What Isn’t Allowed
Individuals 21 and older can have up to 1 ounce of marijuana and up to 1/8 of an ounce of concentrated marijuana at any given time. It is a gross misdemeanor to knowingly give marijuana to someone younger than 18 and a misdemeanor to knowingly give marijuana to someone between 18 and 21 years old. It’s also a misdemeanor to pose as legal age older when you’re not in order to score some weed.
Marijuana can only be used or consumed on private property. It is a misdemeanor punishable by fine for a person to use or consume it in a public place, a retail marijuana store or in a moving car. If you do not own your home, the property owner can prohibit its use. It is illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana. According to the Nevada Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety’s website, “Nevada law (NRS 484C.110) specifies that drivers with 2 nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) implies driving under the influence (DUI). However, no matter the level of THC, law enforcement officers will base arrests on observed impairment.”
Considering that Las Vegas is synonymous with tourism, hotels and casinos, it’s important to note that marijuana can’t be smoked or used in casinos or hotels, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The local gaming industry is keeping a wide berth from marijuana because of cannabis’ federal status. In other words, don’t expect to light up while playing the nickel machines.
And remember: What happens in Vegas definitely stays in Vegas, so don’t take what you buy out of state. McCarran International Airport offers drop boxes for anyone who forgot to leave it behind.
First-Time Use in Nevada
Nevada’s marijuana information site recommends when consuming edibles to start with a small serving size of no more than 5 milligrams of THC, and wait at least two hours before having more. Edibles take longer to take effect than smoking marijuana.
But it’s important to pay attention to how much you smoke, too, and avoid mixing marijuana and alcohol. Also, if you take prescription medications, check with your doctor about any possible interactions with marijuana.