Make sure you know the laws. Gifting even a small amount of an illegal substance is grounds for imprisonment. Burning Man takes place on Federal land, and the Feds don’t recognize medical marijuana prescriptions. Outside the playa, the state of Nevada also does not recognize California prescriptions. Possession of an ounce or more of any substance may be considered trafficking, with 1-5 years of jail time.
Black Rock City, LLC
Controlled Substance & Alcohol Use Policy
Excerpt from Terms on the back of the 2014 Burning Man Ticket to Black Rock City:
“You agree to read and abide by ALL rules in the Survival Guide and to follow federal, state and local laws.”
Excerpt from the Burning Man 2014 Survival Guide:
The use and possession of illegal drugs are violations of the law. Depending on the particular offense and the citing agency, the possession of marijuana may represent an infraction, a misdemeanor or a felony. Under federal law, possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal use is a misdemeanor.
This can result in the issuance of a ticket that imposes a $520 fine. Nevada has very strict drug laws. Any possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor, with a bail of $250 to $650, a fine of up to $600 and possibly required participation in a drug treatment program. Possession of any other illegal drug is a felony offence with a bail in state court of $1,500 or a misdemeanor with a fine of $250. Possession of 28 to 200 grams of some controlled substances is punishable by 1 to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $50,000.
ALERT: Medical marijuana cards are not recognized by either the Federal Government or the State of Nevada. Medical marijuana is only legal in a handful of states. Possession of marijuana is a crime in the Black Rock Desert. Having a medical marijuana card is not a defense. BE FOREWARNED!
The possession of any illegal drug with intent to distribute is a more serious felony offence in all jurisdictions. The possession of large quantities or a variety of drugs may be interpreted as evidence of intent to distribute. Furthermore, the act of distribution is not confined to the sale of such substances. It can mean any form of distribution including gifts. Gifting an illegal substance, even a very small amount, is viewed as a form of distribution. A conviction for distribution is punishable by imprisonment. State laws impose bail ranging between $5,000 and $250,000. The nearest courts are located in either Reno or Lovelock, depending on the crime and law enforcement agency.
Possession of drug paraphernalia with the intent to use it to ingest a controlled substance is a violation of the law. This offense is a misdemeanor under state and federal regulations. In some instances, this offense can be punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000. Undercover officers patrol Black Rock City and they use night vision goggles and other technical equipment to detect illegal drug use and trafficking.
Giving illegal substances to someone else could rise to the level of drug trafficking. Legal considerations aside, if someone is begging for a gift, then he or she is not in tune with the gifting spirit of Burning Man. Gifts are best when given gratuitously, not when asked for.
Serving alcohol to minors is a violation of the law. It is a misdemeanor in Nevada to give alcoholic beverages to anyone under the 21, regardless of whether you are in your own tent or in a public place. If your theme camp has a “bar” where alcoholic drinks are gifted, then the person serving alcohol should check IDs.
It is a State and local offence for anyone under 21 to consume alcoholic beverages or to pass themselves off as being of age. It is a violation of Pershing County law for minors to even possess alcoholic beverages. Please do your part to keep our under-aged participants safe and lawful!
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a violation of the law. Nevada’s blood alcohol limit (BAC) is .08 for drivers 21 years of age and older, and 0.02 for drivers under 21. Note that the BAC is only a guide. Drivers can be arrested and convicted for DUI with a lower BAC, or for driving under the influence of controlled or prohibited substances. Be aware that you cannot refuse a test. By driving in Nevada you automatically consent to breath or blood testing. Refusing a test is grounds for arrest.
The new BM in lockstep with the dominant culture becoming a police state.. And, just like the dominant state, I’d be willing to bet that the more money you have, the less you have to fear from the authorities.
Our camp has a pretty popular bar and invariably some well-meaning burner will ‘thank you’ by holding out their closed hand and giving you a mushroom head of a bud or some other drug. Your immediate reaction when someone hands you something is to take it, especially if you have rapport.
Since I stopped doing drugs on the playa, I would accumulate these gifts in my pocket and then dump them in the potty. But I forgot about one pair of shorts with a mushroom head that just happened to be loaded in the back of my van. If I got pulled over and searched, I would have been fucked.
Also a word of warning: When you’re getting ready to go home, by packing up you attract people who are looking for a ride back to Reno or wherever you’re going, and they’ll ask you for a ride. This happens almost every year. Now consider that you have no idea who this person is, the only thing you know is that they were not self-reliant enough to arrange a ride home, or their ride didn’t want to take them home. If you get pulled over and searched, and your new passenger is carrying drugs, it’s possible or even likely that they’ll stash the drugs in the seat or somewhere else. Just not worth the risk.
NOLO gives a good overview of why in Nevada, just by driving you give consent to testing. bit.ly/1p36Guv
With exact Nevade laws here: