Materials & Use

Is Cannabis Legal in Nevada? Know This Before Starting!

Gabi Antunes

Sep 16, 2019

Although it may not come to mind like Colorado and California when talking about cannabis, Nevada is among the 420-friendliest states in the U.S. Approved for medical use in the late 1990s and for adult-use in 2016, Nevada is currently home to a $580 million cannabis market.

Below, find out how Nevada went about legalizing cannabis, what limits and regulations the state enforces on cannabis sales, how cannabis laws differ in Las Vegas from the rest of Nevada, and how you can carefully enjoy cannabis in Nevada.

Is Cannabis Legal in Nevada?

Cannabis is legal for medical and adult-use in Nevada. In 1998, Nevada voters approved the Nevada Medical Marijuana Act. As per state law, this constitutional amendment needed to be voted upon twice, which led to the second approval of the Nevada Medical Marijuana Act in 2000. The medical cannabis bill also contained a provision which defelonized cannabis; before the legislation, Nevada was the only state which treated cannabis possession as a felony.

Adult-use of cannabis was a much harder sell in Nevada, where the ballot initiative failed twice before its eventual passage in 2016. The first initiative was defeated by a 39 to 61 margin, while the 2006 initiative was defeated 44 to 56. The third and ultimately successful try, the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana ballot question, passed with a 54 to 46 margin. Possession and consumption by adults aged 21 and older went into effect in January 2017, with sales beginning July 1, 2017.

Can cannabis be Consumed in Las Vegas?

As with the rest of the state, cannabis can be consumed in Las Vegas. However, that doesn’t mean that cannabis can be consumed at the slot machines or while strolling along the Strip. The gambling capital of the U.S. has unique rules about cannabis consumption as compared to the rest of the state, since the abundance of gaming licenses in the city poses complications for cannabis use. Even though legalized cannabis is an ever-growing, tourist-driven industry in Las Vegas, there are few places that permit cannabis use.

Who can Obtain Cannabis in Nevada?

Anyone 21 years of age or older can purchase and consume cannabis in Nevada. The law requires purchasers to produce a government-issued, scannable identification in order to shop. Dispensaries are not allowed to store or use your information.

Cannabis users cannot purchase, and licensed dispensaries cannot sell, more than one ounce of cannabis per purchaser at a time. For cannabis concentrates, the maximum sale or purchase amount is one-eighth of an ounce.

Medical cannabis patients have much higher purchase thresholds, and products manufactured for the medical marijuana market containing much more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than products for recreational use. For example, edible products for medical patients can contain much more THC than edibles for adult-use, which has a cap of 100mg of THC per package. In addition to the higher purchase limits and THC threshold, card-holding medical marijuana patients do not need to pay the 10 percent excise tax levied on adult-use cannabis purchases.

Medical cannabis purchases are not limited to Nevada residents. Nevada is a reciprocity state, which means that medical marijuana card holders from other states may purchase medical marijuana from Nevada’s program.

Where can Cannabis be Consumed in Nevada?

In Nevada, cannabis can only be consumed in private, and packages containing cannabis or cannabis products can only be opened in private. State laws explicitly do not allow dispensaries from operating consumption lounges, tasting rooms, or other spaces that allow cannabis use. The state does not allow the operation of cafes, lounges, or clubs where consuming consuming cannabis is permitted. Additionally, if the owner of a private space does not allow cannabis use, their rules supersede state laws. This is especially relevant in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas hotels tend to enforce strict bans on cannabis consumption, so tourists who wish to consume their legally-purchased cannabis on the Strip thus may not have a place to do so. Hotels strongly enforce anti-cannabis rules since they’re often attached to casinos, and gaming licenses and cannabis use may cause concern according to federal law. Hotels without attached casinos are often just as strict about cannabis consumption.

No matter where cannabis is consumed or purchased in Nevada, operating a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis remains illegal. State laws also do not allow unsealed cannabis containers in vehicles. Any cannabis purchased in Nevada must be stored in the car’s trunk or in a sealed container.

How Can You Buy Cannabis in Nevada?

Medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis can be purchased at licensed dispensaries. Southern Nevada is especially known for its abundance of dispensaries, as can be said for the whole state. Most dispensaries can be found by traveling off the strip – as with hotels, placing dispensaries near legal gambling locations is still risky under federal law. However, the middle of the strip is a quick drive from the Las Vegas industrial corridor, which is home to several dispensaries.

Can Cannabis be Delivered in Nevada?

Medical and adult-use consumers in Nevada can benefit from delivery services. Some dispensaries have their own delivery service in-house, while others are serviced by a third-party cannabis delivery service. Some delivery services can be ordered via a smartphone app. Tourists who have limited transportation options, medical marijana patients with mobility issues, and those without access to cars can benefit from cannabis delivery in Nevada. Delivery services in Nevada must be issued a license from the state.

Nevada is Among the 420-friendliest States

Although Nevada had a more storied journey to medical and adult-use legalization than most, thousands of medical patients, adults, and tourists have enjoyed what the Silver State has to offer. The cannabis market in Nevada, and particularly in southern Nevada, is thriving, despite the obstacles presented by the gaming licenses held by many venues on the massively-popular and widely-toured Las Vegas Strip. While making a trip to a Nevada dispensary, keep in mind the rules for consumption, purchasing, and the difference between purchasing medical marijuana and adult-use recreational products.