Marijuana: Is It Really Decriminalized?

marijuana plant Marijuana: Is It Really Decriminalized?Despite the legalization of recreational marijuana use in some states, Nevada maintains marijuana as a Schedule I Hallucinogenic under the Nevada Uniform Controlled Substances Act. While having marijuana may not impose the same type of criminal liability that possession of methamphetamine, cocaine, or heroin does, it can still result in hefty fines, jail time, and a blemish on your record that could affect subsequent career and scholastic opportunities. So what exactly is the law on marijuana in Nevada?

Penalties For The Possession Of Marijuana

Pursuant to NRS 453.336(4), Possession Of One Ounce Or Less Of Marijuana is a misdemeanor and for the first offense is punishable by a fine of up to $600, or assessment for drug addiction. A second offense for Possession Of One Ounce Or Less Of Marijuana is punishable by a $1,000 fine, or mandatory drug counseling. A third offense for Possession Of One Ounce Or Less Of Marijuana imposes a much harsher punishment and is charged as a gross misdemeanor, which carries up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. A fourth, or subsequent, offense for possession of marijuana will be charged as a category E felony, punishable by a minimum of one year and a maximum of four years in prison.

Penalties For The Sale Or Delivery Of Marijuana

The punishment for the sale or delivery of marijuana is more severe than simple possession. According to NRS 453.337(2), the Sale Or Delivery Of Less Than 100 lbs Of Marijuana is a category D felony and is punishable by a minimum of one year and a maximum of four years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $5,000. A second offense for the Sale Or Delivery Of Less Than 100 lbs Of Marijuana can be charged as a category C felony, which is punishable by a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000. A third, or subsequent offense is a category B felony, punishable by a minimum of three years and up to fifteen years of imprisonment and a fine up to $20,000.

Penalties For The Trafficking Of Marijuana

Trafficking marijuana into Nevada is scathingly punishable. Pursuant to NRS 453.339(1) anyone who intentionally sells, manufactures, delivers or brings more than 100 pounds, but less than 2,000 pounds, of marijuana into Nevada can be charged with a category C felony and a fine of up to $25,000. If more than 2,000 pounds, but less than 10,000 pounds, of marijuana is trafficked in Nevada they can be charged with a category B felony, imprisoned for no less than two years but up to ten years, and a fine of up to $50,000. Anything more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana trafficked in Nevada is charged as a category A felony and carries life in prison with the eligibility of parole beginning only after serving five years. The elements of trafficking are the same as simple possession, except that the possessed amount is of the weight specified under the statute.

Penalties For The Possession Of Marijuana Paraphernalia

Surprisingly, the punishment for possessing marijuana paraphernalia is harsher than possessing marijuana itself. As stated in NRS 453.554(1), drug paraphernalia can include water pipes, chillums, bongs, roach clips, grinders, and any container intended to store marijuana. According to NRS 453.566, possessing drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to six months in prison and up to a $1,000 fine.

Is Possession Of Marijuana Really Just A Misdemeanor?

A first or second conviction for possessing marijuana amount to misdemeanors that go away after you pay a fine, right? Not exactly. Although first and second offense possession convictions are just misdemeanors, a person who has been twice convicted of possession of marijuana will face the very real possibility of being charged with a gross misdemeanor and having to spend a lengthy term of incarceration or supervised probation. Moreover, if the underlying circumstances of the case constitute probable cause that the marijuana being possessed was to be sold, then a felony will be charged, regardless of whether this was the first time the person had ever been arrested for possession of marijuana.

Think About This…

Joe Stoner is caught smoking marijuana out of his pipe while sitting in his parked car. Metro finds a couple grams of marijuana, a pipe, and his scale. What is the result? Putting aside the DUI offense, (yes you can be charged with a DUI for being under the influence of marijuana) Joe may be charged with Possession Of Marijuana With Intent To Sell Or Deliver, and Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia. Not to mention, under NRS 453.301, Joe’s car and other property may be seized if it can be established that it was gained or used in conjunction with the possession of the marijuana. These kinds of charges are sure to ruin Joe’s high. Unfortunately, this is the reality of smoking marijuana in Nevada.

Professional Help From a Las Vegas Attorney

The above example is the worst-case scenario but, nevertheless, this is the type of thing that can happen if caught with marijuana in Nevada. If you have been charged with Possession Of Marijuana or any other drug related offense, take it seriously and give us a call at Almase Law.