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Legalization in Nevada: Here’s What Happens Next

November 8, 2016
Panoramic View of Las Vegas at Dusk
Nevada, you deserve a round of applause. You’ve just legalized!

Here’s the reality check: Retail cannabis shops will not open anytime soon. If you’ve been paying attention to how legalization played out in Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon, you know that it doesn’t happen overnight.

Question 2 will become effective on January 1, 2017. On and after that date, any adult 21 and older can possess up to one ounce of cannabis and up to an eighth-ounce of cannabis concentrate without fear of arrest or prosecution. That’s not a license to consume cannabis in public. In fact, it’s worth noting that public consumption of cannabis could land you a $600 fine, so don’t abuse the privilege.


Reciprocity, Baby: Leafly’s Medical Cannabis Guide to Las Vegas

Also effective New Year’s Day: Nevada residents may also grow up to six (6) plants for personal use in an enclosed, secure place. Keep in mind, however, that the plant limit per household is twelve (12) plants total. Even if there are multiple adults in your household, remember – twelve plants. Total.

It won’t happen overnight, but by January 1, 2018, the Department of Taxation is required to not only have drafted all necessary rules and regulations, but also to begin accepting applications for legal cannabis stores.

What about taxes? There will be a 15 percent excise tax, but it only applies to wholesale cannabis transactions. For customers visiting a retail cannabis shop, only the standard state sales taxes apply, which means the government’s bite happens before you even see the product. And it’s relatively small. (Washington state cannabis customers pay 37 percent!)

So when will you be able to purchase cannabis? That really depends on how quickly the Department can get its ducks in a row.

Click to open full-size image in a new tab. (Amy Phung/Leafly)

Nevada: Legal Cannabis Regulations

  • 1 ounce or less of cannabis flower.
  • 1/8 of an ounce or less of cannabis concentrates (3.5 grams)
  • Home grow: Up to 6 plants for personal use in an enclosed, secure space; up to 12 plants per residence.
  • Proposed marijuana establishments must abide by zoning or land use laws adopted by the locality in which it will be located.
  • Public consumption is not permitted. Violators are guilty of a misdemeanor and a fine of no more than $600.
  • Delivery services are not permitted.
  • 15% excise tax on wholesales of cannabis by cultivation facilities.


  • Jan. 1, 2017: Question 2 becomes effective. Possession, private consumption, and home grow become legal.
  • Jan. 1, 2018: Deadline for the Nevada Department of Taxation to adopt regulations and begin accepting applications for marijuana establishments.
  • 90 days after receiving first license application: Deadline for Department of Taxation to issue a license or send notice of rejection

Lisa Rough's Bio Image

Lisa Rough

Lisa is a former associate editor at Leafly, where she specialized in legislative cannabis policy and industry topics.

View Lisa Rough's articles

  • Adude


  • Excuse me

    Great Review of Nevada. Congrats to my Nevada friends! Anyone know if there are opt outs for individual counties? If so, those counties should get squat of the tax money. (Which is fair taxing compared to Washington.)

    • Casey Sherman

      There are no opt-outs in the Nevada legislature. They can play w/ the team or sit on the bench but they’re comin’ to the game either way, roflmao

      • Excuse me

        Thank you, Casey.

  • Amanda

    Woohoo We won!!! No more having to pay 250 dollars and wait a month and a half to get a card that kicks you out if owning a gun to protect yourself. Good thing mine expires in January!! Great job Nevada!!

  • Ryan Bell

    So to purchase after Jan 1 2017, could you go to an already established dispensary or would you still have to have a medical card to shop?

    • antitheist

      Read much?

  • Christopher Barker

    Sadly, you left out the part about Nevada residents being able to grow their own ONLY if they are outside of a 25 mile halo around any dispensary. Gotta protect the multimillion dollar licenses you know….

  • The Department of Taxation began accepting applications Monday for businesses wanting to grow, produce and sell recreational cannabis. The licenses will allow medical cannabis dispensaries to sell cannabis products to adults 21 and older, with the goal of retail sales beginning July 1. The application deadline ends May 31. In addition, the early recreational licenses will be valid through March 2018.

  • Brian Scott

    So is the 25 miles away from a dispensary growing portion of the law still going to be in effect that definitely makes it harder to live anywhere near a city