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Las Vegas Marijuana Defense Lawyer

Marijuana laws are being reformed throughout the country. Some states already have legalized the substance, while others are relaxing their criminal laws regarding possession of marijuana. Cannabis still is illegal in Nevada and is considered a Schedule I hallucinogenic substance according to the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy.

Because it is still illegal to possess marijuana in Nevada, law enforcement agencies throughout Nevada aggressively enforce the plethora of laws banning its possession, sale, and distribution. Even possession of a small amount could mean having to defend yourself against criminal accusations. If you are accused of a marijuana offense in Nevada, knowledgeable legal counsel can be critical.

If you were arrested for any marijuana offense in Nevada, contact an experienced cannabis defense attorney at Gallo Law Office. James C. Gallo is passionate about fighting for the rights of those facing criminal charges for marijuana offenses, and he can help you build a strong defense in your case. Even if you are accused of a misdemeanor, fighting to avoid a conviction or criminal record is important.

Gallo Law Office can aggressively represent you in your marijuana case. The firm represents clients arrested anywhere in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, on the Strip, at McCarran International Airport or the surrounding areas. Call (702) 385-3131 to schedule a free consultation.


Information About Marijuana Charges


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The Legal Definition of Marijuana in Nevada

Marijuana often is called many different things, including pot, weed, grass, reefer or cannabis. The substance is defined in the Nevada Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Under Nevada Revised Statute 453.096(1), marijuana is defined as any and all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether it is growing or not.

The seeds of the plant also could be considered marijuana, according to the law, as well as any resin extracted from any part of the plant. Every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin, also could be considered marijuana.

The legal definition of marijuana does not include the mature stems of the plant, fiber produced from the stems and any oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant. It also excludes any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the mature stems fiber, oil or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination, according to Nevada Revised Statute 453.096(2).


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Common Marijuana Charges

Although some states have changed their policies on marijuana, the substance still is considered illegal in Nevada. State laws outline some of the various offenses a person could be charged with that pertain to marijuana. These offenses could range from misdemeanors to some of the harshest felonies.

Some of the most common marijuana charges in Nevada include:

  • Simple possession of marijuana for personal use
  • Possession of marijuana for the purpose of a sale
  • Unauthorized acts – selling marijuana
  • Driving under the influence of marijuana
  • Felony possession of marijuana
  • Marijuana distribution
  • Cannabis cultivation
  • Trafficking marijuana

The penalties for marijuana offenses in Nevada vary largely based on the amount of the substance involved in the alleged crime and the person's previous criminal history. If a person has been convicted of a similar marijuana crime before, he or she may face enhanced sanctions. Dealing, cultivating or trafficking marijuana also would be a more severe offense than possession.  


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Possession of One Ounce or Less

Nevada Revised Statute 453.336 prohibits the possession of marijuana, making possession of even a small amount a criminal offense. The penalties associated with possession charges are determined by the amount allegedly possessed and if the person has any prior possession convictions.

The most common marijuana charges in Clark County revolve around the possession of a small amount of cannabis, typically less than one ounce. The first charge of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana would be a misdemeanor. The punishment can include fines of up to $600 and a requirement of successful completion of a drug rehabilitation treatment program.

For the second charge of possession of one ounce or less, the offense still is a misdemeanor, but the penalties are more serious. Consequences could include a fine up to $1,000 and a requirement of successful completion of a drug rehabilitation treatment program.

The offense becomes a gross misdemeanor if a person is charged a third time. Under Nevada Revised Statute 193.140, the statutory maximum penalty is a jail sentence of up to 365 days in the Clark County Jail, a fine up to $2,000 or both.

For a fourth or subsequent offense of possession of one ounce or less of marihuana, the crime can be classified as a Category E felony. This could be punishable by one to four years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or both, according to Nevada Revised Statute 193.130.


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Possession of More than One Ounce of Cannabis

If you were arrested for possession of more than one ounce of marijuana in Las Vegas, the potential punishments are felony offenses, even for a first offense which would be a Category E felony. This is punishable by one to four years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. Sometimes a person could face a suspended sentence and probation to complete drug court.

The crime still would be classified as a Category E felony for a second offense in Nevada. This also would be punishable by one to four years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.

For a third or subsequent offense of possession of marijuana more than one ounce in Nevada, the crime would be classified as a Category D felony. This could be punishable by one to four years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.


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Nevada Medical Marijuana Laws

Nevada is one of several states that currently allows patients with qualifying conditions to apply for medicinal marijuana. People with cancer, AIDS, cachexia, glaucoma, chronic seizures, PTSD and severe pain or nausea could potentially be able to legally possess and use cannabis for medical purposes.

A person who has been approved for a registry identification card can legally possess up to two and one-half ounces of marijuana in a 14-day period or 12 marijuana plants, regardless of if they are immature or mature, according to Nevada Revised Statute 453A.200. 

A person could have a caregiver to help administer medicinal marijuana, under the law. The designated primary caregiver would be a person who has significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a person diagnosed with a chronic or debilitating medical condition.

Even if a person has a valid card issued by Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, he or she would not be able to drive while under the influence of marijuana. This still could result in drugged driving or driving under the influence charges.


Additional Resources

High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas in Clark County, Nevada - According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) , the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program enhances and coordinates drug control efforts throughout Clark County and the surrounding areas of Nevada. The HIDTA program works with local agencies including the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (also known locally as “Metro” or the “LVMPD”). which is the largest law enforcement agency in Nevada and one of the largest police agencies in the United States. Drug enforcement is generally aimed at reducing drug use and its consequences.

Southern Nevada Cannabis Operation and Regional Enforcement (SCORE) - SCORE is a HIDTA funded task force comprised of representatives from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the Henderson Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. For 2015, the following statistics highlight the activities of the SCORE task force. During the entire year, only 29 individuals were arrested. The SCORE task force seized 292.4 pounds of THC edibles, 1,855 pounds of marijuana, $210,362 in U.S. currency, and 109 firearms. In addition to the items seized, the SCORE task force also dismantled 25 indoor marijuana grow houses and served 34 search warrants.


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Finding A Marijuana Defense Attorney in Clark County

After an arrest for possession of cannabis in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson or the surrounding areas in Clark County, then contact an experienced drug defense attorney in Las Vegas at Gallo Law Office. From a simple possession of marijuana to more serious drug trafficking offenses, James C. Gallo is ready to aggressively defend you against the charges. Call (702) 385-3131 to learn more about your options.

From misdemeanor allegations of driving under the influence of marijuana to more serious charges of sale, distribution or trafficking, James C. Gallo is ready to begin your defense today.

Article last updated Thursday, May 21, 2015.