Drug paraphernalia is a broad term used to refer to any type of:
- Accessory, equipment, or product
- That helps a person make, hide, take, or transport illegal drugs
A bong is an example of this. Tiny plastic bags or “baggies” are also a frequent example of a product frequently linked with narcotics and drug use. The difficulty with drug paraphernalia charges in Nevada is that not all of it is prohibited. In general, drug paraphernalia becomes unlawful only after it is used for any unlawful purpose. Many convenience stores, for example, sell rolling papers. These were designed to make rolling one’s own cigarettes easier in the past. Nowadays, they are mostly used to wrap marijuana joints.
It’s worth noting that if someone is discovered to be in possession of drug paraphernalia in Nevada, it does not necessarily indicate that they are breaking any laws. They may escape legal difficulties if they are not using the paraphernalia illegally. However, certain specific types of drug paraphernalia are considered illegal because of their true components. An example of this would be how possession of heroin needles immediately violates the law, regardless of whether any traces of the drug can be found in the needle. Since cannabis legalization in Nevada in 2017, it is no longer illegal to possess cannabis paraphernalia, such as bongs. Some other examples of paraphernalia that are still illegal in the state of Nevada include:
- Cocaine spoons
- Water pipes
- Substances that are used to cut cocaine
- Drug testing kits
- Kits that are used to grow cannabis
- Cocaine vials
- Scales used to weigh controlled substances
A conviction for possession or sale of drug paraphernalia in Nevada is not as severe as drug possession with the intent to sell charges, but it can result in harsh criminal penalties. Because marijuana use is now accepted in Las Vegas, and marijuana charges have lightened, cannabis accessories such as bongs, roach clips, and marijuana-related pipes are now permissible.
Possessing or using drug equipment is a misdemeanor charge that may result in six months of jail time and a maximum $1,000 fine. In contrast, manufacturing, selling, or possessing with the purpose to sell any drug equipment is a felony crime. The court has broad discretion when evaluating whether an item is used as drug paraphernalia; it may look at the following elements:
- Prior convictions related to possession of alleged drugs or drug paraphernalia
- The proximity of the alleged device to drugs
- Statements from the defendant and witnesses
- Expert testimony
- Other types of evidence
In Nevada, in order to convict someone of possessing drug paraphernalia, the state prosecutor must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that every component of the paraphernalia crime was committed. Because possession is an essential aspect of drug paraphernalia possession charges in Nevada, if the prosecution is unable to show you had either constructive or actual possession, your charges might be dismissed or even reduced because they were not able to do so.
Actual possession is defined as having physical control of the equipment on one’s person or in one’s grip. If the equipment was in the defendant’s handbag, automobile, or pocket, for example, this would be an example of actual possession.
The prosecution must show that the defendant had control over something, regardless of whether he or she exercised it. Constructive possession implies having three things in mind:
- The alleged offender was aware the paraphernalia was in their presence and it was used in association with an illegal drug offense;
- The alleged offender had the intent to take actual possession of the paraphernalia; and
- The alleged offender was physically able to take control of the paraphernalia