by Brian Bahouth

Reno – On January 1, 2017 the adult possession and use of cannabis becomes legal in Nevada, but as the new voter approved initiative is implemented, the Nevada Department of Taxation is encouraging citizens to know and respect the law before ringing in the new year with cannabis.

While the new law goes into effect January 1, it is only legal to purchase marijuana from a state-licensed medical dispensary or retail store.  Medical marijuana card holders can shop at licensed dispensaries, and the Nevada medical system may very well open to the general public as soon as this summer, but cannabis retail stores will not open until the Department of Taxation develops and adopts and implements regulations that provide for the licensing of adult use cannabis stores and other marijuana establishments, like testing facilities, cultivators and processors.

“For Nevadans who aren’t medical cardholders, this means they’re going to have to wait until the retail stores are up and running before they can legally buy marijuana here,” said Deonne Contine, the Department of Taxation’s executive director. “The ballot initiative gives us until January 2018, but we’re aiming to have regulations in place that allow us to license those retail stores by this summer.”

In the meantime, The Department of Taxation offers a guide to what is still off limits under the new law.

  • Using marijuana in any public place is illegal (misdemeanor with a fine of up to $600).
  • Using marijuana in a moving vehicle is illegal, and driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal.
  • Retail marijuana can only be sold by and purchased from licensed marijuana retailers.
  • Marijuana cannot be possessed, purchased, grown, or used by anyone under the age of 21 unless they have a valid medical card.
  • Adults 21 or older cannot possess more than one ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of an ounce of concentrated marijuana.

Those who plan to use or grow marijuana should also note that the new law does not prevent employers from enforcing their own workplace drug policies, nor does it prevent property owners from banning any kind of marijuana activity on their property.

“In addition to what is and isn’t legal, we also want to remind people to be safe with regard to kids and marijuana,” said Contine. “Make sure any marijuana in your home is secured and stored where children and teens can’t get to it.”