Tag Archives: Drug Possession

Will Nevada Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use?

On Tuesday, voters in Nevada will decide whether to pass the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana, also known as Question 2. If the measure passes, adults 21 years of age or older would be allowed to legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of concentrated marijuana.

The Las Vegas Sun reported on October 31 that an October 26 KNTV/Rasmussen Poll showed 53 percent of Nevada residents were in favor of the ballot initiative. Even if the measure passes, marijuana will not become instantly legal as the “bill provides for the 2017 Legislature to make amendments and clarify technicalities it believes are too loosely written,” according to the Sun.

If Question 2 passes, qualified adults would be able to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana (or one-eighth of marijuana concentrates) and up to 2.5 ounces per two weeks. People could grow up to six plants for their personal use so long as they live more than 25 miles from a medical marijuana facility, but such households would not be able to have more than 12 plants.

Smoking cannabis or consuming marijuana edibles would have to be done on private property, as consumption in public would be punishable by a $600 fine. People who distribute marijuana to individuals under 21 years of age could face felony or misdemeanor charges, depending on the quantity involved.

The Nevada Department of Taxation would oversee the licensing of marijuana retail stores, distributors, cultivation facilities, product manufacturers, and testing facilities. Local governments would still be able to control where marijuana businesses could be located, but they could not enforce complete bans.

In addition to traditional state and local taxes, wholesale marijuana sales would also be subject to a 15 percent excise tax that would be used to fund the implementation and enforcement of the new regulations. All additional revenue derived from marijuana sales would go to the State Distributive School Account to be used for public K-12 education.

In the information booklet provided to voters by the Nevada Secretary of State, supporters in favor of Question 2 argue that the initiative “is a sensible change in law for the state” that “will benefit Nevada by regulating marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.” Opponents argue that “Question 2 is nothing more than a power grab from mostly out-of-state special interests who want to get rich.”

Criminal Defense Lawyer for Marijuana Offenses in Las Vegas, NV

Nevada is one of five states voting Tuesday to legalize recreational marijuana use and the Silver State could become the sixth state in the nation to take such a measure. Under current state law, possession of marijuana not for the purpose of sale carries serious penalties for alleged offenders.

Nevada Revised Statute § 453.336 establishes the following grades for offenses involving possession of one ounce or less of marijuana:

  • First Offense — Misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $600;
  • Second Offense — Misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000;
  • Third Offense — Gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000; or
  • Fourth or Subsequent Offense — Category E felony punishable by up to four years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

If you are arrested or have already been charged with illegal possession of cannabis in Nevada, it is in your best interest to make sure that you have legal representation before you say anything to authorities. An experienced Las Vegas marijuana defense attorney can fight to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case, including possibly having the criminal charges or reduced.

What Happens in Vegas Can Affect Your Career

iStock_000003792613SmallcropLas Vegas is known as the Entertainment Capital of the World and for good reason. Vegas offers a wide variety of tourist attractions, including casinos, performance venues, luxury hotels, and fine dining. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority 41,126,512 tourists visited the city in 2015. Many tourists regard Las Vegas as a place where they can figuratively let their hair down, because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?  That’s not necessarily the case.

While Las Vegas has several features to brag about, like The Strip, Venetian Hotel, Caesar’s Palace and The Colosseum, and the Stratosphere Tower, it also has a more sinister side.

Las Vegas Drug Statistics

According to the 2015 Nevada Crime and Corrections Statistics, 10.8 percent of the state’s populations are illicit drug users; ranking the state number 14 in the U.S. All drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, acid, and prescription drugs, are widely available.

During the last 10 years per capita sales of Oxycodone increased by 366 percent.1 Hydrocodone sales increased by 233 percent.1 In recent years club drugs, including MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, LSE, and K2, have also spiked in popularity, especially among the nightclub and adult entertainment scenes.

The wide availability of illicit drugs and the “what happens in Vegas” mantra often results in serious criminal charges for tourists, including possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance (PCS), or driving under the influence of drugs (DUID).

Drug Possession and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Nevada

Possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia are two of the most common drug-related offenses in Nevada. An individual may be charged with possession of a controlled substance, if the individual has in his or her possession or custody a narcotic such as marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, or other controlled substance.

Depending on the circumstances, an individual may be charged with possession of a controlled substance without having said controlled substance in his or her custody or control. It is possible to be charged with possession of a controlled substance for simply being around a controlled substance.

As earlier stated, possession of drug paraphernalia is another common drug-related offense in Las Vegas. Drug paraphernalia is considered any product, material, or equipment which is used for the purpose of producing, concealing, or using narcotics.

Nevada Drug Possession Penalties

Any conviction for possession of a controlled substance has serious consequences, including steep fines and/or jail time. In the state of Nevada, the penalties for drug possession depend on the amount of drugs possessed, the schedule the drug falls under, and whether the individual has previously been convicted for a drug offense.

In Nevada, drugs are divided into 5 schedules.

  • Schedule I consists of drugs that are considered highly abused and have no accepted medical use. Schedule I consists of heroin, MDMA, LSD, GHB, Methamphetamine, PCP, and Marijuana (THC).
  • Schedule II consists of drugs that have an accepted use, but still have a high tendency of abuse. The following drugs generally require a prescription. Schedule 2 consists of Cocaine, Opium, Oxycontin, Vicodin, Dilaudid, Morphine, and Ritalin.
  • Schedule III consists of drugs that have less potential for abuse and may have an accepted medical use. These substances include Codeine, Ketamine, Testosterone, and Anabolic Steroids.
  • Schedule IV consists of drugs that have low potential for abuse or addiction and an accepted medical use. These drugs include Xanax, Tranquilizers, Valium, Clonazepam, and Sedatives.
  • Schedule V consists of drugs that have an accepted medical use and limited addictive properties. Schedule V includes cough suppressant and Codeine.

As mentioned earlier, Schedule I drugs like MDMA, LSD, and GHB are popular among Las Vegas’ nightclub scene and are widely available to tourists. A conviction for possession of these substances can be particularly problematic for a tourist, because first-offense possession of a schedule I narcotic is considered a category E felony in Nevada. A category E felony carries a penalty between one to four years in prison and a fine of no more than $5,000.

Las Vegas Drug Possession Conviction Can Affect Your Career

A felony drug possession conviction does not stay in Vegas. The collateral consequences can follow an individual for years and negatively impact all aspects of life, especially one’s career.

Most employers perform a criminal background check before extending an official offer of employment. While a criminal conviction may not automatically bar an individual from employment. Most employers will deny employment if there is a correlation between the drug possession conviction and the position.

Depending on the profession, a drug possession conviction may have more damning consequences.

  • Teachers– In certain states a felony drug conviction may bar an individual from obtaining a professional licensure or certification. For example, in Ohio an individual may not obtain a certification to teach if he or she is convicted of a felony drug-related offense.2
  • Lawyers– In certain states, including Kansas, Texas, Missouri, and Mississippi, an applicant is automatically barred from bar admission if convicted of a felony. Other states, including Georgia, Alabama, Connecticut, and Indiana, place significant barriers to bar membership if convicted of a felony.3
  • Police Officer– Most states do not allow convicted felons to become police officers. For example, Texas does not allow individuals convicted of a felony become a police officer at any time after the conviction.4

Conclusion

Joel Mann of the Law Office of Joel M. Mann, Chtd. is a criminal offense attorney based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has extensive experience defending tourists and out-of-state residents in drug-related offenses, including possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, drug trafficking, possession with the intent to sell or distribute, and prescription pill offenses.

Joel Mann is a trial proven attorney, who will achieve the best result in your case based on your unique circumstances. For many first-time drug possession offenders, Attorney Mann gets the charges reduced or dismissed.

The Law Office of Joel M. Mann, Chtd. diligently represents both tourists and local residents facing drug charges in Las Vegas and Clark County, Nevada. Contact Joel Mann at (702) 474-6266 for a confidential consultation.

Resources

  1. National Geographic, Facts: Last Vegas “Interesting Facts Related to This Episode, September 28, 2012- http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/drugs-inc/articles/facts-las-vegas/
  2. Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3301-20-01: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3319.31
  3. Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements: http://www.ncbex.org/pubs/bar-admissions-guide/2016/index.html#p=19
  4. Requirements for Licensed Law Enforcement Careers: https://www.tcole.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/le_careers_lic_requir_11.pdf

 

Nevada Prescription Drug Abuse

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Nevada Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug dependency and abuse has become a nationwide health epidemic claiming approximately 50 lives each day and over 16,000 lives each year. Compared to national averages:

  • Nevada ties as one of the top states in writing painkiller prescriptions
  • Nevadans consume over two times as many prescription drugs as any other state; and
  • Clark County has more deaths by drug overdose from prescription narcotics than by any other street drug

The ease of obtaining a prescription and the lack of transparency in prescription drug history are both to blame for the prescription drug abuse epidemic.

New Law SB288

Senate Bill No. 288 was created in an attempt to combat the rise in prescription drug abuse by monitoring prescription history. The Bill proposed that all authorized personnel who handle commercially manufactured prescription narcotics be granted access to a prescription drug database, and required to maintain access to this database by logging in at least twice a year.

It also granted the State Board of Pharmacy and the Investigation Division of the Department of Public Safety the authority to discipline those who failed to comply. These new requirements for those authorized to write and fill prescriptions would help support the National Drug Control Strategy. After months of revisions, Senate Bill 288 was passed and went into effect as NRS 453.1545 on January 1, 2016

NRS 453.1545  outlined the state’s computerized prescription monitoring program (PMP) requirements:

  1. Board of Pharmacy Registrants who prescribe controlled substances are required to register with the PMP
  2. Board of Pharmacy Registrants registered with the PMP are required to monitor the system and view
  3. Provision’s to NRS 453.1545 are enforceable by the occupational licensing boards within that state

The new law tightens regulations on doctors, pharmacist, and other medical personnel to ensure that they are using the prescription monitoring database to track drug prescriptions as well as flag cases of potential drug abuse.

Prescription Pill Offenses

Contrary to popular belief, charges for possession of a controlled substance (which includes prescription pills) is very serious offense in Nevada. Types of arrest for prescription pill offenses include:

  • doctor shopping
  • possession of a medication without proof of a prescription
  • illegal possession of medication; and
  • prescription fraud

Individuals charged with prescription pill fraud can result in:

  • a category C felony for doctor shopping punishable by a 1-5 year prison sentence and fined up to $10,000
  • First and Second convictions for illegal possession of prescriptions is punishable by a category E felony punishable by 1-4 year prison sentence
  • Three or more conviction for illegal possession of prescription pills can result in a category D felony punishable by a 1-4 year prison sentence and/or a fine up to $20,000

Additionally, doctors and medical personnel who are charged with prescription pill offenses in Nevada can be charged with a category C felony punishable by a1-5 year prison sentence and fined up to $10,000.

Conclusion

In the state of Nevada, drug crimes are not treated leniently, and penalties for the sale, use or possession of controlled substances can be harsh.

If you have been arrested and charged with prescription fraud, illegal possession of a prescription or doctor shopping in Clark County or the surrounding areas, contact the Law Office of Joel M. Mann to discuss your criminal charges.

Joel Mann is an experienced Las Vegas drug lawyer who will do everything in his power to help you achieve the most desirable outcome in your situation. Call (702) 474-6266 today for a free consultation about your alleged drug crime in Las Vegas.

EDC Vegas 2014 Revelers Should Be Aware of Rights On and Off Festival Grounds

Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas 2014

The Electric Daisy Carnival, one of the most well-attended electronic music festivals in the world, will be at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway later this month from June 20 to June 22. The festival has a reputation as a free-wheeling event where narcotics are permitted. This is not the case.

The festival posts security guards at the doors who search people entering, and attendees should be very careful what they say to these guards. The security guards are not required to advise festival goers of their rights, and will turn people over to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Once turned over a person may face charges for drug possession, possession with intent to sell or any other relevant charge. In addition to Electric Daisy Carnival security, undercover police officers are inside the festival and are looking to arrest people, as well.

However, many people who are arrested in Las Vegas during EDC weekend are not apprehended on the grounds of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. They, instead, may be stopped on the road to and from the festival, or at one of the many parties that occur at hotels and around the area.

There are about 15 miles between the EDC grounds and the Vegas Strip, where many attendees stay. Many will drive to and from the festival. Along the way, on both North Las Vegas Boulevard and the Las Vegas Freeway (I-15), the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Nevada Highway Patrol are likely to be posted and on the lookout for intoxicated drivers.

To pull a person over, police must have reasonable suspicion that the driver is intoxicated or committing a crime. Speeding, driving slowly, weaving between lanes or driving recklessly may give officers cause to stop a person. Once stopped, the officer must develop probable cause in order to arrest you on the charge of DUI or any other crime. Typically an officer will ask a driver to perform standardized field sobriety tests or SFST to determine if the officer can establish probable cause for more specific testing. If the officer believes you have failed the SFSTs or has other probable cause, he will then take you to have a blood or breath tests administered to gather evidence of your intoxication. The officer will ask that you consent to a blood or breath test, he will try and scare and threaten you. It is important that you do not consent to a blood or breath test. You instruct the officer, nicely, but clearly, that you require that the officer get a warrant for any test. Do not sign any sort of consent document.

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance, including prescription drugs. These tests are designed to determine whether any such substances are in the system of the driver. If you are asked to take a test, it is your right to refuse. In Nevada, currently, there are no consequences for your refusal. By requiring the Officer to get a warrant you avoid handing over critical evidence to prosecutors. Your Las Vegas DUI defense lawyer can seek to have charges dismissed and assist you with any DMV issues that may arise.

If police pull a person over on suspicion of DUI and finds illegal drugs or illegal weapons in the car, the driver may face charges for that.

Additionally, there are many parties that happen in and around Las Vegas during the Electric Daisy Carnival and in the week leading up to it – the week has been dubbed “EDC Week” due to its popularity. There are parties at nightclubs, hotels and at pools. Like at the festival, security guards are often on hand to pat down and check bags for these parties. If they find illegal substances, they will likely detain the person and turn them over to Las Vegas police.  Possessing even a little bit of any drug, other than marijuana, is a felony.  If you possess a larger quantity of drugs you could be looking at a felony that would be mandatory prison or even a life sentence.

Security guards and, sometimes, undercover officers may also be inside the party. They may detain or arrest people for indecent exposure, lewd conduct, drug use or any other charge.  A significant portion of arrests occur with people taking drugs in the bathroom of the clubs or pools.  So be aware of anyone watching or listening to what you do.

There are many opportunities for revelers during EDC Week and the Electric Daisy Carnival to find themselves in legal trouble. They should always be aware of their rights — most importantly, their right to a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer who will represent and advise them.

Crack Down on Synthetic Drugs in Las Vegas Continues After Recent National Ban


Synthetic drugs are designed to mimic the effects of marijuana, cocaine, meth, LSD, and other drugs, and have seen an increase in use during the past several years. These imitation drugs are manufactured in underground laboratories and sold in convenience stores, smoke shops, and even adult bookstores. They go by names like “K-2”, “Vanilla Sky,” “Tranquility,” and produce feelings of euphoria, hallucinations, and disorientation among others.

Many states have recently adopted legislation banning synthetic drugs. While Nevada has no such legislation currently, synthetic drugs were banned by the Nevada Pharmacy Board under an order earlier this year. President Obama has also signed a law banning synthetic bath salts in July of this year. This federal law bans currently identified bath salt compounds and similar compounds that produce the same effects. It also covers both online and interstate sale of the listed synthetic drugs.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration have also taken part in a nationwide, 109 city, federal crackdown of synthetic drugs known as “Operation Log Jam.” Over 90 people were arrested and millions of packets of synthetic drugs were seized in total during the nationwide bust. This unified operation by several law enforcement agencies shows a concerted effort to penalize users, manufacturers, and traffickers of synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones.

There are consequences to synthetic drug crimes in Nevada. NRS 453.2043 defines a controlled substance analog as a substance that has a similar chemical structure to Schedule I and Schedule II drugs. Other drugs within these schedules include Methamphetamine, PCP, ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin.  The synthetic drugs act as stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and depressants or are represented to have these effects.

The Nevada State Board of Pharmacy determines the synthetic drugs that are considered illegal under the scheduling. Synthetic drugs that fall under the Nevada state ban are treated as schedule I substances. If convicted, a person has the potential to face severe penalties. For example, possessing a synthetic drug in Nevada can result in a Category E felony for a first time offense, punishable by up to 4 years in prison and / or a fine of $4,000. Selling or manufacturing synthetic drugs in Nevada can lead to a category B felony for a first offense, punishable by up to 6 years in prison and / or up to $20,000 in fines.

A person arrested for charges related to synthetic drugs should remain extra aware of their legal options. Just because a drug charge involves synthetic drugs rather than their other illegal counterparts does not mean a charge will be taken lightly by prosecutors. In fact, given the recent nature of the synthetic drug bans, it is in the best interests of a person to consult with a criminal lawyer in Las Vegas who understands state and federal drug laws in light of the recent synthetic drug bans.

This video was recently released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and discusses synthetic drugs uses and side effects:

Electric Daisy Carnival – Police are looking to arrest drug users

If you are like the 80,000 other people coming in to Las Vegas to attend the Electric Daisy Carnival then you should be aware that with all the negative publicity the RAVE is getting these days that the police are going to be vigilent in cracking down on drug offenses.  Understanding your rights will be critical to preventing a fun all night rave into a terrible mistake. 

First, despite what you see on TV commercials, what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas.  If you are caught with drugs you will more than likely be arrested and eventually charged with a felony.  It is a felony to possess any drugs (except marijuana which depending on the amount is a misdemeanor) in Nevada.  It is also a felony to be under the influence of any drug including marijuana. 

The police will probably not search you when you enter the RAVE. This is similar to how the casino’s operate the pool parties and night clubs.  More than likely the organization will have paid security guards going through your bags, wallet, pockets, etc.  If they find anything that is illegal they will escort you away from the carnival into a holding area.  Once you are there they will ask you questions.  The answers to these questions can and will be used against you if you are charged with a crime.  The security guards are allowed to ask you these questions as they are not the government doing the questioning.  Once they have confirmed who you are and that you have committed a crime they will contact the police who will be present on hand to formally arrest people that are committing crimes.  What you need to know is that the security guards are not the police and there are different rules that apply to them.  

You still can protect your rights. 

  1. Your first right is to remain silent.  It is a constitutional right and if you are in trouble you should invoke that right. 
  2. Second, do not admit to anything as this will be used against you, but don’t lie either, so refer to the first step…remain silent.
  3. Third, do not fight the security guards or the police.  This will just add more aggravation to your life and add additional more charges.  When you have a defense you need to let your lawyer do your fighting for you.

To avoid the issue involving drugs, make sure you do not have any drugs on your person when you enter the carnival.  It is important that you do not hold anyone’s stuff as they may have drugs in their stuff and you will be left literally holding the bag for them.  They will search everything you have when you enter the Electric Daisy Carnival and you need to be aware anything found on you will be charged against you.  The Police are on heightened alert and the organizers are trying to deal with bad press, they will be working together to put it all on you as those people trying to destroy a good time.  Be careful and be safe.

 

 

 

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