Despite Decriminalization Of Adult Recreational Use Of Marijuana, Court Finds Its Use Is Not Lawful

Allen Matkins
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Allen Matkins

Nevada's voters decriminalized adult recreational use of marijuana by voter initiative.  See Secretary of State, Statewide Ballot Initiative Question No. 2, 14 (Nov. 8, 2016, effective Jan. 1, 2017).  Marijuana nonetheless remains illegal under federal law and may be prosecuted under the Controlled Substances Act. See 21 U.S.C. § 844(a).   The question therefore arises whether adult recreational use o f marijuana is "lawful" in Nevada.

NRS 613.333 grants employees a private right of action if they are terminated for engaging in "the lawful use in this state of any product outside the premises of the employer during the employee's nonworking hours".   When the Palace Station casino terminated one if its dealers for a positive test for marijuana, he sued for lost wages and benefits under the statute.  Yesterday, the Nevada Supreme Court held that because federal law criminalizes the possession of marijuana in Nevada, its use is not lawful in the state.  Therefore, the erstwhile employee had no cause of action under NRS 613.333.  Ceballos v. NP Palace, LLC, 138 Nev. Adv. Op. 58.

The World's Birthday And The Man Who Hired Mark Twain

According to the Mayan long count calendar, the world began on August 11, 3114 B.C.E. under the Gregorian calendar.   However, this information was lost after the fall of the Mayan empire and the Spanish takeover of their lands.  It turns out that the man, Joseph Goodman, who eventually deciphered the calendar was the same person who hired Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, as a contributor to Nevada's first printed newspaper, the Territorial Enterprise.  

As a Jew, Goodman may have been pleased to discover that the Mayans' creation date is relatively close to the date of creation according to the Hebrew calendar - October 7, 3761 B.C.E.  Because the years count up from creation under the Hebrew calendar, the year of creation can determined by subtracting the year under the Gregorian calendar from the year in the Hebrew calendar (taking into account that the years start on different dates under each calendar).  

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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