Even though the flood gates opened for recreational use, don’t discount the numerous criminal charges which may come from excessive possession or growing acres of this newly legalized drug.
With that, let’s look at cultivation of marijuana charges in Nevada.
Nevada laws on possessing and growing marijuana
According to Nevada Revised Statute § 453D.400, it’s unlawful to manufacture or grow marijuana if the grower lives within 25 miles of an approved dispensary. By definition, “manufacturing” means cultivating soil, handling seeds, curing the harvested plant and storing for later sale.
For anyone that lives outside the 25 mile range, Nevada laws allow anyone to cultivate up to six (6) plants for personal use. Anything that’s grown over the six-plant limit will result in misdemeanor charges; twelve plants may result in felony charges. The plants must be grown securely indoors in areas permissible by local law, or may also be grown outdoors under certain circumstances.
Introducing these laws had several purposes. One, to battle the opioid epidemic that’s hampering a nation. Two, because Colorado is wildly successful in collecting tax revenue off growers. To Nevada politicians, it was a no-brainer – with some trepidation. Hence the six-plant limit.
Potential charges if convicted
Persons under 21 are not permitted to grow plants of any sort, with an infraction given to minors who are caught with just one plant.
For adults, the charges and penalties vary based on several factors:
Adults in possession of more than six plants face a misdemeanor charge punishable up to six (6) months in jail, $500 in fines, or both. For twelve plants, growers face a Class E Felony which carries up to 4 years in prison and fines up to $5,000 – not to mention payment of all costs involved with disposing of surplus plants.
Persons in possession of more than six plants with violent felonies, sex offenses requiring registration, multiple cultivation misdemeanors or those who violate environmental laws face felony charges. The extent of the felony charged, along with sentences, will vary.
Drug treatment or probation may be imposed in lieu of jail time provided the first-time offender is non-violent and has no other charges in addition to cultivation or possession of more than six plants.
Anyone with more than 12 plants that weigh over 50 pounds would be charged as trafficking.
Defenses to cultivation of marijuana
Anyone charged with cultivating marijuana in Nevada may raise meritorious defenses, including:
- The plants in question weren’t the defendants; or
- You were unaware that marijuana was growing on land you owned; or
- Medical needs require that you grow more than recreational laws allow; or
- The pot plants were seized illegally during an unsanctioned raid; or
- You are unaware of what pot looks like, therefore shouldn’t be charged.
During an extensive investigation, a criminal defense attorney may discover one or all defenses are applicable to the defendant’s cause, thereby dismissing the cultivation charge. For this reason alone, many defendants in similar cases hire top-notch counsel who can decipher fact from perception.
Will Trutanich follow through?
Crime and tax revenue will play into the decision whether U.S. Attorney Trutanich will actively pursue growers and possessors of marijuana.
If you are facing cultivation charges, or possess more than the legally allowed limit of marijuana, contact our firm immediately for superior representation of all marijuana misdemeanors and felony crimes.