Now That Marijuana Is Legal
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Now That Marijuana Is Legal

Now that marijuana is legal in Las Vegas one of the most common questions that is asked is if people who were arrested for marijuana offenses in the past are still guilty of them.  This is a very interesting question because something that you may have been arrested for only a few years ago is something that is perfectly legal now.  If you were put in jail on a marijuana charge just a few years ago, there is a good chance that you are still serving your time even though marijuana is legal on the street outside the jail.  While this may seem unfair, and it might make sense to most people that if you were convicted of a crime that is no longer a crime, you should be released from punishment.  Unfortunately this is not the case, and the fact that you broke the law while it was still the law is the actual issue.  It isn’t that something is illegal or not, it is the fact that you willingly did it while it was illegal.  That is what you are being punished for.

One of the more interesting debates with regard to the legalization of marijuana is if you need to disclose a past marijuana crime on a job application.  We aren’t talking about fulfilling the terms of your punishment, and instead we’re talking about the stigma that follows you because you committed a crime.  If that crime is no longer a crime, do you have to report it when asked?  To answer this we must look into what the laws are in Nevada with regards to hiring and firing employees.  A Nevada employer is within his legal rights to ask you to disclose if you have been convicted of a crime.  If they run a background check as part of your hiring process, there is a good chance that your crime will be revealed to them.  Even though that crime would no longer be charged due to the fact that marijuana is now legal, it does not negate the fact that you were convicted of a crime.  If that employer asks if you have ever been arrested, the legality of your answer is debatable.  If you were arrested for marijuana but were not convicted of a crime, when your employer asks if you have ever been arrested, technically you can answer “no.” The difficulty of this discussion comes to light with regards to the ability for the employer to not hire you if they find out that you did not tell the truth during the hiring process.  You do not legally have to divulge if you have ever been arrested, and a background check would not reveal it unless you were convicted, but if they find out that you were they are within their rights to terminate your employment.  It could be argued that a civil rights violation has taken place, but this would be difficult to prove.

This naturally leads to the discussion of if an employer is allowed to legally not hire you if you admit to marijuana use.  If you have been convicted of a crime involving marijuana, it is going to be difficult for you to gain employment within an employer who frowns upon marijuana.  If you were arrested for marijuana but not convicted, that same employer very well might terminate your employment if you did not divulge your marijuana arrest during your application.  If that same employer decides to test for drug use, they are legally allowed to terminate your employment if you test positive for marijuana, as long as it is within the employment guidelines that were provided to you.  Essentially, the contract between you and your employer can stipulate almost anything that they want it to.  If it states that within your employment contract you will not partake in marijuana or any other drugs, a positive result on a random drug test can result in a breach of contract on your part.  The employer has the ability to terminate you due to this breach of contract.  Is not a violation of your civil rights for them to fire you even though the substance that you have been utilizing is perfectly legal in Las Vegas.  This is why the best idea is to simply answer any question that is asked during the application process in an honest manner.  If the employer tells you that random drug testing is something that they do, ask them if marijuana use is against their policies.  If it is, do not use marijuana at any time during your employment within that company.

The best policy is to not be convicted of marijuana related crimes.  This means that if you were arrested for marijuana in any capacity you should contact a qualified lawyer immediately.  Instead of worrying about how a conviction will impact your future job prospects, it is better to attempt to not be convicted in the first place.  Only a lawyer experienced in the marijuana laws of Las Vegas is going to be able to either get an arrest thrown out, or negotiated down to a lesser charge.  Just because marijuana is legal in Las Vegas doesn’t mean it can’t have the same longstanding impact on your life as it would if you had been arrested previous to it being made legal.  If you have legal concerns about marijuana charges either current or in the past, contact us immediately.  We are highly experienced marijuana lawyers, and we will fight for you to make sure that the impact of your mistakes doesn’t ruin your life. Contact us today.