The legalization of marijuana has been a hot topic in the news, with five states voting on the legal status of using it recreationally. Now that Election Day has come and gone, the question remains, when can you smoke weed in Nevada legally?
Ahead of the Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative (also known as Question 2), recreational marijuana use laws had already been passed in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Medical marijuana is also currently legal in 25 states (including Nevada since 2013), the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The benefits of legalization have most clearly been shown in Colorado; drug arrests are down, and tax collection is up, according to the New York Times. Still, marijuana remains a contentious issue; before the election, polls showed Nevada voters to be pretty evenly split on the issue, the Times reported. On the other hand, legalization initiatives in California and Massachusetts were projected to pass easily, and they did, NBC News reported. So it doesn't come as a surprise that Nevada's voters followed suit and the initiative is projected to have passed.
In Nevada, Question 2 would have weed be regulated in a similar manner to alcohol, meaning people aged 21 and older would be able to purchase, possess, and consume limited amounts of it. Individuals would also be allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants "for personal use" (but these plants would have to be grown in an "enclosed area with a lock"). Driving under the influence of weed would also remain illegal, as would distributing it to underaged individuals.
Even with pot being legal in Nevada, it could take a while for Nevada's residents to be able to legally smoke it. Recreational marijuana legalization in Colorado took more than a year to actually implement. Colorado's Amendment 64 was added to its state constitution in December of 2012. At that time, a task force on the implementation of the amendment was created, and throughout 2013, recommendations and regulations were passed. The first retail stores finally opened on Jan. 1, 2014. But retailing weed isn't legal in all of Colorado; localities can ban marijuana retail stores, at least temporarily. However, it's legal to smoke weed in Nevada after Jan. 1 if you're already in possession of it.
Prior to the election, weed was at least decriminalized in Nevada, meaning that getting caught for possession and distribution of it leads to much lesser penalties than it would otherwise. Still, growing marijuana without a medical card constituted a felony. Possessing up to an ounce was still punishable by a $600 fine and counted as a misdemeanor. So in the meantime it's probably safer to head to a state where recreational use is already legal to buy it, at least until implementation has been figured out.