As a medical marijuana registry identification cardholder there are many things that you are permitted to do that are still illegal, but for which you are exempt from state prosecution. However, the laws are not so clear cut that a person with a registry identification card is completely immune from prosecution in all circumstances.
Under Nevada’s Medical Marijuana Laws, a person with a chronic or debilitating medical condition is permitted to apply to the Division of Public and Behavioral Health (the “Division”) for a registry identification card. A licensed medical doctor or osteopathic doctor must sign a physician’s statement before a person is eligible to apply for a card. Once an application is submitted, the Division will conduct a background check and unless the applicant is denied for one of the very few exceptions, the Division will issue a card that is valid for one year. The card must be renewed every year on the anniversary of the date the card is stamped by the Division.
Exemption from State Prosecution:
The issuance of a card does not entitle the cardholder to possess marijuana. Rather, it provides the cardholder with an exemption from prosecution by the state for the use, possession and/or cultivation of marijuana in limited amounts. It also allows the cardholder to produce, use, and possess edible marijuana products and marijuana infused products and paraphernalia. However, the card does not provide any exemption from Federal prosecution, possession and use of marijuana is still a federal crime.
There are certain things that a cardholder is not exempt from state prosecution. For instance, you will not be exempt from prosecution for driving, operating or being in actual physical control of a vehicle or boat, while under the influence of marijuana, or engaging in any other conduct that is prohibited by certain statutes, or possessing a firearm while under the influence of marijuana. You will also not be exempt from prosecution if you possess marijuana in any public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view. Some of these exceptions would appear to be in conflict with the intent of the medical marijuana legislation. Nonetheless, if you are found to have violated any of these provisions, in addition to any other punishment imposed by the applicable law, the Division may prohibit you from using your registry identification card for up to six months.
How much can you have?:
The exemption from state prosecution applies only to the extent that a cardholder does not possess, deliver or produce more than two and one-half ounces of usable marijuana in a 14 day period, twelve marijuana plants, irrespective of whether the plants are mature or immature, and a maximum allowable quantity of edible marijuana products and marijuana infused products as established by the Division.
Usable marijuana means the dried leaves, flowers and seeds of a plant and any mixture or preparation thereof. It does not include the stalks and roots of the plant. Since a cardholder is permitted to grow up to twelve mature plants, but cannot possess more than two and one-half ounces of usable marijuana in any two-week period, it can create a dilemma for the cardholder that is cultivating their own plants. How does a cardholder grow up to twelve mature plants, process them, but keep the usable amount of product below 2.5 ounces in any given 14 day period to avoid prosecution?
With respect to edible or infused products, the administrative code states the allowable amount of edible or infused products a person can possess is however much product it takes to equal the equivalent of 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana. The obvious problem with the code is that it does not specify what methodology is used to determine what the equivalent is. So, law enforcement may have a completely different view that you on what amount of edible or infused product is permissible. This has and will continue to cause problems for consumers and the police until clarification is provided by the Division.
You must also ensure that the usable marijuana and marijuana plants are safeguarded in an enclosed, secure location. This is another area that can get a cardholder into trouble, as there is no definition as to what constitutes an enclosure or secure location. Is it your backyard or patio or shed? This is susceptible to multiple interpretations.
If you are a cardholder and find yourself in a situation where you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana or marijuana products in excess of the amounts allowed by law, or any other marijuana related crime, there are certain affirmative defenses that are available to you if you can prove that the greater amount is medically necessary.
The statutes and regulations relating to the use of medical marijuana can be difficult to navigate. Having the right attorney to represent you is paramount. The Wright Law Group is Martindale Hubble AV rated in Criminal Law and is well equipped to assist you. Please call us at 702-405-0001 to schedule a consultation.