Nevada Marijuana Law Changes in January 2024

A law enacted during the 2023 legislative session and signed by the Governor makes significant changes in existing marijuana laws. For consumers, the primary change is an increase in the amount of cannabis that an adult can purchase and possess, with the existing limits increasing substantially in 2024. The statutory changes do not impact potential violations of criminal laws resulting from marijuana use, purchase, and possession, other than those relating to the amount of marijuana that an adult may buy and have in their possession.

Increase in Marijuana Limits for Recreational Use in 2024

As of January 1, 2024, consumers who are at least 21 years old may possess, deliver, or produce up to two and a half (2.5) ounces of marijuana or one-quarter (1/4 or 0.25) of an ounce of THC concentrate. These changes significantly increase the existing permissible amounts of marijuana and THC, which are one (1.0) ounce of marijuana and one-eighth (1/8) of an ounce of THC.  

The statutory changes do not affect other limitations on recreational marijuana purchase and use, which require purchase only through a licensed dispensary and prohibit consumption of marijuana in public. As under existing law, violating any of the restrictions can still result in a criminal charge after the increased limits go into effect.

Other Changes in Nevada Marijuana Laws

Senate Bill 277, the legislation that included the increased limits also contains other substantial changes to existing marijuana laws that primarily affect licensees and dispensaries, as well as ownership and employment in the cannabis industry. Some changes took effect immediately, but most become effective on January 1, 2024, at the same time as the increased purchase and possession limits go into effect.

Under existing law, a dispensary needs dual licenses to sell consumer and medical marijuana products. As of 2024, only one license will be required to sell for recreational and medical purposes. Easing the administrative burdens is viewed as a business-friendly move that eliminates some of the red tape within the industry. Medical marijuana licenses will still be available in jurisdictions that prohibit the operation of recreational dispensaries.

The new law also allows cannabis retailers to have more than one entrance, as long as each entrance is secure. Previously, cannabis establishments were permitted only a single secure entrance. In addition, the amendments lift the excise tax on medicinal cannabis sales and allows local governments to use tax revenue from marijuana sales for public education campaigns concerning safe consumption and identifying the difference between legal and illegal retail operations.

Under existing law, a person convicted of a felony cannot work in the cannabis industry. The prohibition extends to ownership of a business in the industry. That ban is lifted by the new law. After January 1, 2024, an individual convicted of a felony can go through a specific process to apply to the Nevada Cannabis Control Board (CCB) for an agent card, which allows employment in the cannabis industry within the state. The applicant goes through a process that includes a hearing, background check, and record review. Based on the results, the CCB determines whether or not to issue the agent card.

Other provisions allow a person with a felony conviction to apply for and receive a license for operating a marijuana business, if the CCB determines that doing so would not pose a threat to public health or safety or negatively affect the industry. In granting the license, the CCB must impose any conditions it deems necessary to preserve the health and safety and mitigate the impact of the exemption.

The preceding is a summary of the primary marijuana law changes for 2024. The marijuana reform law and other legislation also contain provisions intended to create a more favorable business environment for the cannabis industry in the state.

No Changes to Criminal Law Provisions Relating to Marijuana

With the exception of the new higher limits for recreational purchase and possession, the new law did not change the criminal laws that apply to marijuana use and purchase in the state. You may still get into trouble with the law if you are not aware of all the limitations.

For example, you can be charged with DUI for marijuana in Nevada. In addition, to be legal, marijuana must be purchased at a licensed dispensary and cannot be consumed in public or in public buildings, which includes most hotels, casinos, schools, bars, vehicles, public restrooms, and more. Licensed cannabis lounges are the one exception.

You must be at least 21 years old to buy and consume legal marijuana in Nevada. If you are an adult, giving marijuana to anyone under the age of 21 years is a crime, and if that person is under the age of 18 years, it is an even more serious crime. Severe penalties apply to anyone underage who buys or attempts to buy or consume cannabis.

Finally, if you own a firearm or consider purchasing one, be certain you are familiar with all the  gun laws that apply to individuals who use marijuana.

Talk With a Las Vegas Marijuana Defense Attorney

If you are arrested on any marijuana criminal charge or a related charge, a conviction on your record can significantly impact your life. You need a skillful, knowledgeable attorney on your side. Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten helps Nevada residents and visitors who are facing criminal charges arising from use, possession, or sale of marijuana, and any other drug charges. He has extensive experience defending clients against all federal and state criminal charges.

If you’ve been arrested in Las Vegas or anywhere else in Clark County,  contact The Gersten Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.