Nevada Recreational Marijuana: Coming Soon by Initiative

The above reflects Nevada's medical system, but we expect recreational cannabis to be legalized here next year.
The above reflects Nevada now, but we expect recreational cannabis to be legalized here next year.

From brothels to gambling to all night drinking, Nevada has a reputation as a place where individuals are free to decide for themselves In keeping with this tradition, we (Canna Law Group’s Las Vegas office) strongly believe Nevada will in 2016 become the fifth state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, via initiative.

Less than a year from now, Nevada voters will go to the polls to voice their politician regarding Nevada’s Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana, to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older. The proposed law mandates that the state allocate tax revenue generated from marijuana sales for education. The law also prohibits giving or selling marijuana to minors, use of marijuana while operating a motor vehicle, and using marijuana in public.

The Nevada Department of Taxation will issue licenses to marijuana retailers, suppliers and manufacturers, testing facilities, and transporters. The Department is also tasked with determining licensing qualifications and with limiting the number of licenses issued across the state. Local governments will control marijuana business locations via local ordinances and marijuana businesses will be forbidden to operate near schools, childcare facilities, houses of worship, or certain community facilities.

Consuming cannabis in a marijuana store, “a public place,” or a moving vehicle will be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $600. The initiative defines “a public place” as “an area to which the public is invited or in which the public is permitted regardless of age,” which suggests that age-restricted, private establishments (like clubs or lounges) could allow cannabis consumption on their premises. We can see it now — a marijuana lounge at The Wynn, maybe right next to The Buffet.

The State of Nevada will impose a 15 percent excise tax will  be imposed on wholesale sales of marijuana. Existing sales tax will apply to the retail sales of marijuana. Revenue generated from these taxes will be used to support Nevada public education.

Though not perfect and though not fully fleshed out, we generally like this initiative and we strongly urge our fellow Nevadans to support it.

The numbers indicate that the 2016 initiative has broad support statewide and will very likely pass. Public support for legalization is at an all time high. Sixty-four percent of Americans between 18 and 34 year olds support legalization and that number will likely continue to grow as people warm to the idea of legalized (and heavily regulated) cannabis. In Nevada specifically, public polling suggests Nevadans support legalized, controlled, and regulated marijuana as an alternative to the state’s longstanding policy of prohibition. We rarely speak with anyone here in Nevada who does not favor legalization, regulation, and taxation over criminalization.

It also helps that 2016 is a Presidential election year, which means lots of voters are likely to turn out in Nevada to decide on the initiative. Presidential election years tend to bring out younger, more liberal voters (relative to midterms or off-year elections) who also are more likely to favor marijuana legalization. Nevada already has a huge base of young voters who, if motivated by a Presidential election and a legalization initiative, could make a real difference in the initiative’s results.

With broad public support both state and nationwide, it appears that it is only a matter of time before recreational marijuana may be purchased in Nevada.

We are planning on that….