States and cities throughout the country have changed the way marijuana crimes are handled. Some cities have decriminalized small amounts of the substance, while some states have made it completely legal. Others have approved the medical use of marijuana for some qualifying patients, such as Nevada.
However, without a valid registration certification, any person accused of possessing, trafficking, selling, or cultivating marijuana in Nevada still could face harsh criminal charges. The substance, also known as weed, pot, refer, and Mary Jane, still could lead to a plethora of misdemeanor and felony charges. If you have been accused of a marijuana crime, contact an attorney immediately.
Misdemeanor and felony marijuana charges should be taken seriously. If you have been charged with either, contact Las Vegas marijuana lawyer Jeffrey Jaeger. Having skilled legal counsel by your side could be beneficial in getting a favorable outcome. As an attorney, Jeffrey understands the seriousness of the offense and he wants to help you avoid a lifetime of consequences.
Call The Law Offices of Jeffrey Jaeger at (702) 816-3888 to schedule a free consultation. Jeffrey Jaeger will work hard to ensure your rights are represented. He serves as an advocate on behalf of clients throughout the Las Vegas area and those in the surrounding areas of Clark County, including North Las Vegas and Henderson.
Marijuana is considered any part of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether it is growing or not, according to Nevada Revised Statute 453.096. The term marijuana also can include the seeds, any resin extracted from the plant, and any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, or mixture of the plant.
According to state law, marijuana does not include the mature stems of the plant, fiber produced from the stems, or oil and cake made from the seeds of the plant. It also excludes any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, preparation of the mature stems, fiber, oil or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant, which is incapable of germination.
Because marijuana still is illegal in Nevada, state law outlines several offenses a person could face if he or she possesses, sells, cultivates, or traffics marijuana. The penalties for the offenses can range from misdemeanors to some of the harshest felonies, depending on certain circumstances of the crime. Some of the most common marijuana crimes include:
Possession of marijuana —Charges for possession of marijuana vary based on the amount allegedly possessed. A first offense for possession of less than one ounce could be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $600, according to Nevada Revised Statute 453.336. A second offense would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to $1,000 in fines.
A third offense becomes more serious and could be considered a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and $2,000 in fines. If a person is convicted for a fourth offense, he or she could face Category E felony charges. This could mean one year in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Possession for the purpose of sale—A person could be accused of possession with the intent to distribute if he or she has a large amount of marijuana in his or her possession. Law enforcement officers use various tactics to prove the intent to sell, including possession of drug paraphernalia like scales, baggie, or large amounts of cash.
According to Nevada Revised Statute 453.337, possession with the intent to sell a Schedule I substance could be a Category D felony on a first offense. This could be punishable by between one and four years in prison and $5,000 in fines. A second offense could be a Category C felony, which carries between one and five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. A third or subsequent offense could be a Category B felony, punishable by between three and 15 years in prison and up to $20,000 for each offense.
Cultivation of Marijuana —A person shall not knowingly or intentionally manufacture, grow, plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, propagate, or process marijuana, according to Nevada Revised Statute 453.3393. If the quantity involved is more than 12 marijuana plants, no matter if they are mature or immature, a person could be guilty of a category E felony. This could mean between one and four years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. The person also could be forced to pay all costs associated with the clean up and disposal of the plants.
Marijuana Trafficking —A person who knowingly or intentionally sells, manufactures, delivers, or brings marijuana into the state could be charged with trafficking, according to Nevada Revised Statute 453.339. This includes being in actual or constructive possession of the substance.
Trafficking between 100 and 2,000 pounds would be a Category C felony, punishable by between one and five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. If the weight of the marijuana was between 2,000 and 10,000 pounds, it could be a Category B felony. This could carry between two and 10 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
If a person is accused of trafficking more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana, he or she could face Category A felony charges. According to the statute, this is punishable by life in prison with the possibility of parole after serving five years or a definite term of 15 years with eligibility for parole after five years have been served. Up to $200,000 in fines also could be added.
States throughout the country now are allowing some patients to use marijuana for medical purposes, including Nevada. Patients who have been diagnosed with AIDS, cachexia, cancer, glaucoma, PTSD, persistent muscle spasms or seizures, severe nausea or pain, and other conditions could be approved.
A person who is approved for a registry card would be approved for one year. During this period, he or she could legally possess up to two and one-half ounces of usable marijuana in any one 14-day period or up to 12 marijuana plants, whether or not they are mature, according to Nevada Revised Statute 453A.200.
If a card has been issued, the person cannot produce or deliver more than that amount. Doing so could lead to criminal charges, and having a medical marijuana card is not a valid defense against the charges, according to state law.
The person who holds the card could have a designated primary caregiver. This person would be allowed to legally help the person administer the medical marijuana. The caregiver also could be permitted to travel to a dispensary for the cardholder if he or she is ill or lacks transportation.
A registration certificate could be suspended for a variety of reasons, including if the person fails to pay child support or comply with subpoenas and warrants, according to Nevada Revised Statute 453A.338. A certificate could be revoked immediately if the person is transferring marijuana to another person or acquiring marijuana from a place other than a dispensary, according to Nevada Revised Statute 453A.340.
Even if a person is authorized to use marijuana for medicinal reasons, he or she still could face charges for driving under the influence of marijuana. According to Nevada Revised Statute 453A.300, a person with a medical marijuana card is not exempt from state prosecution if he or she drives, operates, or is in actual physical control of a vehicle or vessel while under the influence of marijuana.
If a person is accused of driving under the influence, he or she could face DUI charges. This would be the same as if the person was intoxicated by alcohol. A first or second offense could be considered a misdemeanor, if no aggravating factors are present in the offense. Felony charges would apply if a person is charged a third time.
In drug and marijuana cases, the most significant evidence often is the substance itself. Challenging this evidence is important to getting the charges reduced or dropped. If an attorney can prove the evidence is insufficient, this could mean favorable results in a case.
For instance, a possession charge hinges on the idea the person who allegedly had the substance was in actual or constructive possession of the marijuana. An attorney can argue although the substance was in a certain area, the accused did not possess it.
Additionally, if a person is accused of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell it, a dedicated marijuana defense attorney can challenge the accusation he or she planned to distribute it. This could be critical to having charges reduced or dismissed completely.
Evidence could be inadmissible in court if it is obtained illegally. Having a criminal defense lawyer with a keen understanding of evidence and how to challenge it examine your case could make the difference. Jeffrey Jaeger, co-author of Westlaw’s Courtroom Handbook of Nevada Evidence, knows how to do just that.
National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws: NORML is a national non-profit organization that opposes marijuana prohibition, including all criminal penalties for private possession, cultivation, and responsible use of marijuana by adults. The organization has several state chapters throughout the country, including one in Las Vegas.
Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health: This division of the state's Department of Health and Human Services maintains information pertaining to the state's medical marijuana program. This includes information about medical marijuana cardholders and medical marijuana establishments.
Marijuana Policy Project in Nevada: The MPP is a non-profit organization aimed at gaining public support for non-punitive marijuana policies throughout the country. The MPP works to change state laws, including those in Nevada, to reduce or eliminate penalties for medical and non-medical use of marijuana by responsible adults.
If you have been charged with a marijuana crime, contact Las Vegas cannabis defense attorney Jeffrey Jaeger. Avoiding a criminal conviction is important, and The Law Offices of Jeffrey Jaeger can work with you to seek a favorable outcome. Call (702) 816-3888 to schedule a free consultation.
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