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Las Vegas police will enforce marijuana law as district attorney backs off

Posted at 6:52 PM, Nov 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-16 21:52:32-05

Law enforcement officers around the Las Vegas valley will go after anyone possessing marijuana, but will the Clark County district attorney pursue the case?

DA Steve Wolfson said Tuesday he'll look the other way on marijuana possession charges.

Having up to an ounce of pot will become legal in Nevada on Jan. 1, following the passage of Question 2 last week.

"I applaud Steve for taking this enlightened view," said Mace Yampolsky, a criminal defense lawyer.

Clark County Public Defender Philip Kohn says he usually doesn't see eye-to-eye with Wolfson, but this decision was an exception.

"I was impressed that he realized this is the will of the voters," Kohn said.

Experts say most possession misdemeanors never turn into jail time for the offenders.

But the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is still out on the streets doing its job. In spite of what Wolfson said, you could still be cited for possession.

A police spokesman told 13 Action News that officers will continue to enforce the law until it changes in the new year. He said what Wolfson does with the citations they issue is his choice.

"I think there's going to be a flurry of [litigation] cases in the beginning before everybody figures out where the law is, what is required, what's not required," Yampolsky said.

The law allows anyone 21 or older to possess marijuana. It can only be smoked inside private residences.