City, county ordinances prohibit open marijuana containers in vehicles

Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

The City of Fernley and Lyon County have each adopted similar ordinances that prohibit open containers of marijuana or marijuana products in the passenger compartment of vehicles.

The city and county each approved the ordinances that were presented by sheriff Al McNeil, who called them trailblazing laws.

“I believe every jurisdiction in the state will adopt similar ordinance because it makes sense,” McNeil said at the May 3 Fernley City Council meeting.

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Both ordinances make it unlawful to possess or consume marijuana in a vehicle. McNeil said the objective of the bills are to reduce impaired driving in Lyon County.

The prohibition for marijuana is similar to the prohibition against consumption or possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. Violations of the new Ordinance may be punished as a misdemeanor, which includes a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in the Lyon County Jail.

McNeil said as long as a container of marijuana purchased at a legal dispensary is still sealed, it can be transported in a vehicle, similar to when a person buys a bottle or can of alcohol.

“As soon as you break that seal, it has to be either in the trunk or some area that’s not accessible while driving,” McNeil said.

In vehicles that do not have a trunk, open containers must be kept in some other area of the vehicle not normally occupied or directly accessible by the driver or passengers. A utility compartment or glove compartment is deemed to be within the area occupied by the driver and passengers.

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