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Marijuana arrests still occurring, may require strong defense

Recreational use of marijuana is legal in Nevada and seven other states. In this state that means anyone may possess up to one ounce of marijuana, one-eighth ounce of concentrate, and paraphernalia for smoking. However, there are still marijuana arrests in the state. Knowing the law can allow Nevadans to avoid an arrest and a subsequent conviction for marijuana use or possession.

First, you should know that it is illegal to cross the Nevada border with marijuana purchased in another state. The police cannot ask where a person obtained the substance once they are in the state if they do not exceed the legal possession limit. However, the police may check people at the state border.

Second, marijuana cannot be transported on an airplane. TSA officials can report this to local police, as marijuana is still an illegal drug under federal law.

Third, trafficking in marijuana in any amount is illegal except for licensed marijuana dispensaries. It is also unlawful to buy marijuana from an unlicensed dealer, but, again, the police may not ask where a person obtained it.

Fourth, a person may not consume marijuana in public and especially while driving. The legal amount can be carried in vehicles, however. While a person may smoke marijuana in a private residence, the police may arrest a driver for a DUI charge if he or she operates a motor vehicle while high. There are no devices currently on the market for measuring THC levels in a driver. However, the police may make an arrest if a driver appears impaired. They will normally conduct a field sobriety test instead of having a blood test performed.

Fifth, sending any amount of marijuana through the mail violates federal law. FedEx and UPS also say that they will not knowingly ship it.

Breaking marijuana laws can have far-reaching consequences, too. Property renters, for example, may violate their lease by using marijuana. Also, medical marijuana users may lose their card if they are caught selling or sharing marijuana with anyone.

Good news may be coming, though. A bill in the Nevada legislature will allow the expungement of an earlier marijuana-related criminal conviction that is for an offense that is no longer illegal. It is also anticipated that Nevada will have guidelines allowing recreational sales this summer.

Anyone arrested for a marijuana offense should seek legal representation. An attorney may be able to help determine whether the arrest was valid and in accordance with these new laws.

Source: Mesquite Local News, "If you want to smoke weed, you'd better know the laws," By Teri Nehrenz, April 22, 2017

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