It’s been a week since Nevada become the latest state to decriminalize both medicinal and recreational cannabis. It’s important to know the nitty gritty of what went into the making of this glorious statute — and what might lie ahead. Here’s the lowdown on what you need to know about legal weed in Nevada.
Getting down to the basics
As of July 1, Nevada joined the ranks of states like Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Alaska, where it is officially legal to carry and purchase up to a certain amount of herb.
With the launch of recreational sales, residents and tourists who are 21 or over can now purchase up to an ounce of pot with a valid ID.
While the sale of medicinal cannabis in Nevada has officially authorized this past January, only residents with a medical license were able to legally obtain and purchase the product.
Despite the state’s reputation as a party haven — and sensational reports of Sin City’s newest “vice” — recreational use is prohibited in establishments like the Las Vegas casinos and bars Nevada is widely known for. (Really? This is surprising?)
While Nevada can count itself as one of eight states in which it is legal to carry weed — including California, Maine, and Massachusetts, as well as the Washington, D.C. area — consumers are prohibited from partaking in public. If caught, persons in violation can face up to $600 in fines alone.
Even so, many are counting this as a victory. But what lies ahead?
Legal Weed in Nevada: A rush to the finish line
Predictably, the path to cannabis legalization has not been an easy one. As The Hill reported a week before the bill was finalized, state senators reportedly scrambled to complete an intricate legal system that has had very few structural precedents.
This is hardly news for those familiar with the economic troubles of the state. With legalization, legislators are eager to see millions of dollars back into the state due to expected tax revenues.
But according to some, what seems like a simple solution to Nevada’s problem may cause complications in the future. Take Rafael Lemaitre for example: he has no problems venting his frustration. The former top staffer at the Office of National Drug Control Policy called the efforts of lawmakers “sloppy.”
“The way Nevada is moving is reminiscent of a college student who skipped class all semester and is now cramming for finals at the last minute,” he told reporters.
Getting in on the ground floor
Of course, lawmakers aren’t the only ones who have a stake in the game.
Over the past week, many have voiced their surprise that Nevada’s cannabis sales have surpassed original projections. (Because Oregon’s successful revenue boost or Colorado’s steady job growth last year don’t count. Or something.) While legislators are invested in fiscal projections, they’re not the only ones with a stake in the game. The first to experience the ramifications of Nevada’s cannabis legalization are the business owners. And despite months-long preparation, even the 44 licensed dispensaries in the state weren’t ready for the influx of customers.
According to sources like ABC News, retail owners and newly-dubbed “budtenders” were greeted with crowds of clients eager for them to open their doors. Customers waited as long as an hour to buy recreational products.
Celebrating another victory
Ultimately — and most importantly — the first week of weed legalization in Nevada has been a cause for celebration.
“It’s like Christmas wrapped into New Year’s,” he said. “It’s surreal.”