Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Nevada

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Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card in Nevada

Nevada residents enjoy certain benefits when they obtain the state-issued registry identification card. These benefits include:

Legal Protection

Unlike recreational consumers, medical marijuana cardholders in Nevada are usually exempted from prosecution for using or possessing cannabis as long as they do not exceed state-approved limits. Per Chapter 453A of Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS), qualifying patients with state-issued medical marijuana registry cards are exempted from the state's criminal laws for using medical cannabis to treat their debilitating conditions. Nevada medical marijuana cardholders who fall into the following category are also not subject to prosecution for growing marijuana plants at home:

  • Unable to travel to licensed dispensaries due to their ailments or lack of means of transportation
  • No dispensary was in operation within 25 miles of their residences when they initially applied for their medical cannabis cards
  • The licensed dispensaries nearby are unable to supply the marijuana strain required by their medical conditions
  • No cannabis dispensary in the county where they live or if they reside more than 25 miles away from the nearest dispensary

Nevada medical marijuana cardholders under 21 years old possessing no more than the state-stipulated limits of cannabis are legally protected, provided they have their cards on them. However, any individual under 21 who is not a registered medical marijuana patient caught with cannabis in the state is guilty of a misdemeanor. Although patients are not necessarily required to carry their medical cards around, having the cards with them while in possession of marijuana in public is advised. This includes while traveling with medical cannabis in their cars. However, patients must ensure to keep their medicine away in their vehicles' glove boxes or trunks when traveling within the state.

Lower Prices

Typically, medical marijuana cardholders in Nevada purchase cannabis products at lower prices than recreational users. In addition to sales tax, every retail purchase of marijuana by recreational consumers attracts a 10% retail excise tax. However, medical cannabis product purchases are not subject to this tax, making medical marijuana cardholders in the state pay less for marijuana products.

Higher Purchase and/or Possession Limits

In Nevada, medical cannabis patients' marijuana possession limit is higher than the approved limit for recreational consumers. Medical cannabis cardholders may possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and 1⁄4 ounces of concentrated cannabis at any given time. On the other hand, adult users may not possess or purchase more than 1 ounce of usable marijuana and ⅛ ounces of marijuana concentrate per time.

Higher Cultivation Limits

With a Nevada medical marijuana card, a cannabis patient who lives more than 25 miles away from a licensed dispensary may cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants (6 mature, 6 immature) at home. In contrast, recreational cannabis consumers aged 21 years or older may only grow up to 6 marijuana plants for personal use, subject to 12 plants per household.

Access for Minors

A person under 18 may access medical cannabis in Nevada (through a caregiver) as long as they have at least one qualifying medical condition recognized under state medical marijuana law. However, they must obtain a state-issued medical marijuana card. It is illegal for any individual under 21 to possess or use weed for recreational purposes in the state.


Although Nevada currently has no reciprocal agreements with other states to accept out-of-state medical cannabis cards, registered patients can use their Nevada marijuana cards in several states. For instance, in Illinois, patients with valid Nevada medical cannabis cards have full dispensary access. Other states where Nevada medical marijuana cards can be used include Maine, Florida, Maryland, North Dakota, Hawaii, Arizona, and Rhode Island. However, due to the variation of medical cannabis programs by state, if traveling to another state, a Nevada medical marijuana cardholder is advised to contact the state for information on their reciprocity laws.

Reasonable Employment Accommodation

Nevada medical marijuana cardholders are protected by state law from employment discrimination. Per NRS 678C.850(3), employers must make reasonable accommodations for medical marijuana users with valid medical marijuana cards as long as they do not use cannabis in the workplace. However, this provision does not require employers to modify medical marijuana patients' working conditions. An employer's reasonable accommodations for Nevada medical marijuana patients must not:

  • Prohibit employees from fulfilling any or all of their job obligations
  • Pose a threat of danger to any other person or property or cause the employer an unnecessary hardship

In Nevada, medical marijuana patients have a private right of action against employers who fail to attempt to make reasonable accommodations for them in the workplace. In addition, NRS 613.132(1) prohibits discrimination against prospective employees for testing positive for cannabis on a pre-employment drug screening, provided the candidates are registered medical cannabis patients. Prospective employees who fail such tests have the right to take additional screening tests (at their expense) in rebuttal and submit the results to the employers. Cannabis is still illegal under federal law. So, registered medical marijuana patients may still be refused employment opportunities at federal agencies operating in Nevada.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Nevada

Common disadvantages of having a Nevada medical marijuana card include the following:

Firearm Prohibition

Having a Nevada medical marijuana card implies relinquishing one's right to gun ownership in the state. Nevada complies with the federal law (Gun Control Act of 1968) prohibiting users of controlled substances, including medical cannabis, from possessing or using firearms and ammunition. Any registered medical cannabis patient who chooses to own a gun in the state is considered to be violating federal law, which has consequences.

Driving Restrictions

It is illegal for Nevada medical marijuana cardholders to operate a motor vehicle with marijuana or marijuana metabolites in their system. Being a medical cannabis patient is never an excuse for driving under the influence (DUI) of cannabis. In addition, a medical cannabis patient with an active Nevada medical marijuana card cannot apply for a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). It is illegal to operate a commercial motor vehicle in the state while under the influence of any controlled substance, including medical cannabis.

Under the per se standard, any medical marijuana cardholder in Nevada caught operating a vehicle with 2 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) or more of THC or 5ng/mL or more of 11-hydroxy-THC in their blood commits an offense. Punishments for DUI of cannabis in the state include fines, community service, jail sentence, and suspension of driver's license.

Annual Renewal

Depending on the validity duration approved by physicians on patients' written certifications (often based on the severity of patients' medical conditions), Nevada medical marijuana cards expire after one or two years. Medical marijuana cardholders must apply to renew their cards at least 30 days before expiration to prevent interruption in their participation in the state's Medical Marijuana Program. However, the renewal process often comes with some inconveniences.

Nevada medical marijuana cardholders are required to see their medical providers, in person or via telemedicine services, for re-evaluation of their medical conditions before they can renew their cards. The consultation fee ranges from $50 to $120, depending on the provider. In addition, patients must pay a non-refundable medical marijuana card renewal fee of $50 (1-year validity) or $100 (2-year validity).

Federal Prohibitions

It is illegal for federal employees in Nevada to use or possess cannabis, even when used for medicinal purposes. Under federal law, marijuana is considered a Schedule I controlled drug and remains illegal regardless of Nevada's position on its legality at the state level. As a result, medical marijuana cardholders in the state are not legally permitted to apply for federal employment. Similarly, federal employees in Nevada risk losing their jobs or appointments if they obtain Nevada medical marijuana cards.

Registered medical marijuana patients living in federally subsidized housing in Nevada cannot legally cultivate marijuana plants in such homes even though state law permits personal cultivation of cannabis. Generally, federal law prohibits possessing or using marijuana or cannabis products on federal property, and federally subsidized housing is not exempted.

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