Categories
BLOG

growing hemp in nevada

Nevada laws for “Cultivation of Marijuana” in Nevada (NRS 453.3393)

Updated July 1, 2020

Nevada marijuana law permits recreational marijuana cultivation of up to 6 plants (a maximum of 12 per household) only if the grower is more than 25 miles from the nearest licensed dispensary. Growing more than 12 plants is a felony, though the court typically grants probation instead of Nevada State Prison.

Common defenses to Nevada charges of cultivating weed include:

  1. The defendant had no knowledge the pot was growing on his/her property, or
  2. The defendant had a valid medical marijuana card, and he/she was too ill or lacked means to travel to a dispensary

Even though Nevada recently legalized recreational marijuana, courts still take cultivation crimes very seriously. And growing 50 lbs. or more of pot is prosecuted as trafficking, even if it is just for personal use.

In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about Nevada laws for cultivating marijuana, including punishments, defense strategies, record seals, and immigration consequences. Click on a topic to jump to that section:

1. May I cultivate my own marijuana in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Recreational pot cultivation is permitted under very limited circumstances. Only people who live more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary are allowed to grow pot. In reality, this rule outlaws anyone in Clark and Washoe Counties.

Furthermore, the few rural Nevadans who live more than 25 miles from a dispensary may grow no more than six (6) plants per person. And no household may have more than twelve (12) plants. Finally, the marijuana must be cultivated in an enclosed space not viewable by the general public (so not near a window where people from the street can see).

Note that “cultivation” comprises “growing” as well as the following actions:

  • manufacturing,
  • planting,
  • harvesting,
  • drying,
  • propagating, or
  • processing

Obviously, commercial growers with a valid registration card from the Nevada State Health Division operate by a different set of rules. 1

1.1. Medical Marijuana Patients

People with valid Nevada medical marijuana cards follow slightly laxer rules. They may grow their own marijuana plants only if:

  • the dispensary is unable to supply the marijuana to the cardholder, or
  • the cardholder is too ill to travel to the dispensary, or
  • the cardholder lacks transportation to travel to the dispensary, or
  • there is no dispensary within 25 miles of the cardholder

And cardholders may not possess more than 12 marijuana plants, mature or immature. 2

2. Can I go to jail for growing my own marijuana in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Usually not for a first offense. And it is often possible to get criminal charges reduced or dismissed through a plea bargain.

The specific penalties depend on the circumstances:

2.1. Growing more than 12 plants (but less than 50 lbs.)

Illegally growing more than 12 plants is a category E felony in Nevada. It carries probation and a suspended sentence and the cost of cleaning and disposing of the marijuana and cultivation facility. But if the defendant has at least two prior felony convictions, the court can order:

  • 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • maybe up to $5,000 in fines

Note that growing 50 lbs or more of marijuana is automatically prosecuted as trafficking, which carries much harsher penalties and steep fines. 3

2.2. Violating other cultivation rules (NRS 453D.400)

Recreational growers face prosecution for either of the following acts:

  1. Cultivating marijuana within 25 miles of a licensed retail marijuana store;
  2. Cultivating marijuana plants where they are visible from a public place by normal unaided vision; or
  3. Cultivating marijuana on property not in the cultivator’s lawful possession, or without the consent of the property owner

The punishment for committing one of these offenses increases with each successive conviction: 4

2.3. Concentrated Cannabis

It is a category C felony for a recreational user to knowingly or intentionally extract concentrated cannabis. The penalty is 1 to 5 years in prison and possibly up to $10,000 in fines. 5

3. How do I fight the charges?

The defenses available to defendants facing charges for growing marijuana in Nevada depend on the circumstances of the case. Two common strategies include:

  1. Lack of intent: Cultivating marijuana is not illegal in Nevada if the person had no idea he/she was growing it. For example, a person with a wild marijuana plant growing in his/her background is committing no crime as long as he/she does not realize the plant is marijuana. If the prosecutor cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly or intentionally grew marijuana, the charges should be dropped.
  2. Medical Marijuana: Cultivating marijuana is legal as long as it is done in accordance with Nevada medical marijuana laws. If the grower is a patient, he/she can cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants as long as he/she cannot reasonably get marijuana from a dispensary and has a valid Nevada medical marijuana card. The charges should be dismissed as long as the defendant can show Nevada medical marijuana laws permitted them to cultivate marijuana.

Note that Nevada law enforcement often learns of illegal marijuana growers by satellite images showing greenhouses or by unusual electricity usage. When prosecuting cultivation cases, the D.A. often presents photographs of the plants and lab results confirming that the specimens are indeed marijuana.

4. Can I get my record sealed?

Usually, yes. The waiting period to begin the record seal process depends on the specific charge:

Classification of Cultivating Marijuana Charge Record Seal Wait Time
misdemeanor (NRS 453D.400) 1 year after the case closes
gross misdemeanor (NRS 453D.400) 2 years after the case closes
category E felony (NRS 453.3393) 2 years after the case closes
category C felony (NRS 453.3393) 5 years after the case closes

Note that any criminal charge that gets dismissed can be sealed immediately. 6

5. Can I get deported for growing marijuana?

Probably not for growing a small amount, but it is a gray area. Aliens who have been arrested should seek legal counsel from an attorney right away to discuss their options for safeguarding their resident status. Learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada. 7

6. Related offenses

Additional marijuana crimes in Nevada are:

Call us if you are facing a drug charge…

Arrested for “cultivating marijuana” in Nevada? Contact our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys to schedule a free meeting. We may be able to persuade the prosecutors to reduce or dismiss your charges without a trial.

¿Habla español? Obtener información acerca de las leyes de Nevada para el cultivo de marihuana.

Arrested in Colorado? Go to our article on Colorado marijuana laws.

Legal References:
  1. NRS 453D.110; NRS 453D.400.
  2. NRS 453A.200.
  3. NRS 453.3393.
  4. NRS 453.3363, NRS 453.580
  5. NRS 453.3393
  6. NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.
  7. Immigration and Nationality ActINA § 237(a)(2)(B)(i); 8 USC 1227(a)(2)(B)(i).

Nevada Revised Statutes Blog Posts:

Updated July 1, 2020 Nevada marijuana law permits recreational marijuana cultivation of up to 6 plants (a maximum of 12 per household) only if the grower is more than 25 miles from the nearest licensed dispensary. Growing more than 12 plants is a felony, though the court typically grants probation instead of Nevada State Prison. .

Updated July 1, 2020 Nevada marijuana law permits recreational marijuana cultivation of up to 6 plants (a maximum of 12 per household) only if the grower is more than 25 miles from the nearest licensed dispensary. Growing more than 12 plants is a felony, though the court typically grants probation instead of Nevada State Prison. .

Updated July 1, 2020 Nevada marijuana law permits recreational marijuana cultivation of up to 6 plants (a maximum of 12 per household) only if the grower is more than 25 miles from the nearest licensed dispensary. Growing more than 12 plants is a felony, though the court typically grants probation instead of Nevada State Prison. .

Updated July 1, 2020 Nevada marijuana law permits recreational marijuana cultivation of up to 6 plants (a maximum of 12 per household) only if the grower is more than 25 miles from the nearest licensed dispensary. Growing more than 12 plants is a felony, though the court typically grants probation instead of Nevada State Prison. .

Only people more than 25 miles away from a licensed dispensary may grow marijuana in Nevada for recreational purposes. Those growers are limited to 6 plants per person and 12 per household. The marijuana plants may not be visible to the public. Depending on the facts, violations may carry fines or prison time.

Starting a Hemp Business in Nevada

Starting a Hemp Business in Nevada

Starting A Hemp Business In Nevada

Thanks to the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill, Senate Bill 305 (SB305), and Senate Bill 396 (SB396), those who are interested in growing, producing, or handling industrial hemp in Nevada are able to do so under the State of Nevada Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Program. However, starting a hemp business is more than just planting hemp seeds in your backyard and waiting for them to grow. As a matter of fact, it is a felony to grow hemp in Nevada without a license. If you are interested in getting licensed to grow, produce, or handle hemp, the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) has its own application process and fees.

What is hemp?

Hemp comes from the Cannabis sativa plant and contains a very low concentration of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol (the chemical component of marijuana that is responsible for the “high” you feel after consuming it). Historically, hemp has been used to make rope, textiles, canvas and clothing. Additionally, it can be used to make oils and food.

Is hemp basically the same thing as marijuana?

No. Although hemp comes from the same species as marijuana, it has a completely different chemical makeup. While marijuana contains a high amount of THC, hemp contains less than 0.3%. Additionally, hemp contains high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), which will not have intoxicating effects on a person’s body. Although hemp is not considered a “drug” like marijuana, it is still important to remember that it is a federal crime to grow, produce, or handle it without a license. Unlike marijuana though, there are far fewer restrictions on purchasing hemp products (such as CBD oil, clothing, or even smoothies) from a licensed producer for your own personal use/consumption.

How can you start a hemp business in Nevada?

If you’re interested in growing, producing, or handling industrial hemp in Nevada, you will need to fill out the necessary applications, which can be found on the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s website. There are currently 3 applications:

  1. Industrial Hemp Grower’s Application – for those who will grow hemp.
  2. Industrial Hemp Seed Producer Application – for those who will grow hemp in order to sell/distribute the seeds.
  3. Industrial Hemp Handler’s Application – for those who will process hemp (i.e. make it into products).

Additionally, per the NDA’s website, a “harvest report” is to be submitted by an “active grower/seed producer” 15 days prior to crop/seed harvest.

How much does it cost to start a hemp business in Nevada?

Compared to starting a business in the marijuana industry, starting a hemp business is considerably less expensive. From the NDA website:

Industrial Hemp Grower:

  • Application Fee: $500.00
  • Acreage Fee: $5.00/Acre, or:
  • Square Footage Fee: $0.33/1,000 Square Feet

Industrial Hemp Seed Producer:

  • Application Fee: $100.00
  • Acreage Fee: $5.00/Acre
  • Square Footage Fee: $0.33/1,000 Square Feet

Industrial Hemp Handler:

  • Application Fee: $1,000

Other fees include:

  • Inspection costs at $50.00/hour. Inspector drive time will also need to be reimbursed. Please note that annual inspections are required.
  • Additionally, per the NDA website, “The Department may charge a fee for any analysis which it conducts.”

Conclusion

If you need help applying for a hemp license or have any further questions regarding Nevada’s industrial hemp program, contact Connor & Connor PLLC at 702-750-9139 today.

Starting a hemp business in Nevada can be tricky. As marijuana attorneys in Nevada, Connor & Connor knows the legal complexities of starting a hep business.