Do You Understand Ohio’s Marijuana Laws?
The legal landscape surrounding marijuana and cannabis products is in a constant state of flux, making it a challenge to navigate. While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, numerous states, including Ohio, have legalized its medical use, and nearly a dozen states have even legalized recreational marijuana.
Over the past decade, Ohio’s laws have become increasingly permissive, yet it’s important to understand that marijuana remains illegal in many circumstances. Failing to grasp the nuances of these laws can have serious repercussions in criminal court.
Medical Marijuana Use in Ohio is Strictly Regulated
Under Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program, medical marijuana use is strictly regulated. To be in compliance with state law, you must have a qualifying medical condition and have a physician help you enroll in the state registry to obtain marijuana from state-approved dispensaries. You are limited to possessing only a 90-day supply and cannot grow or obtain your own marijuana.
Decriminalized vs. Criminalized Possession of Marijuana for Recreational Use
Ohio still considers recreational marijuana to be illegal. However, possessing less than 100 grams (approximately 3.5 ounces) is typically considered a minor misdemeanor and results in a $150 fine. In most cases, this offense will not result in a criminal record. But anything over 100 grams is considered a criminal offense and can be charged as either a standard misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the quantity. Penalties for conviction vary based on charges/quantity and any aggravating factors.
Growing or Cultivating Marijuana is Illegal
It is illegal to grow or cultivate marijuana in Ohio under any circumstances except for approved dispensaries. Anyone caught growing or cultivating marijuana will likely be charged with possession.
Facing Marijuana Charges? Consult with a Criminal Defense Lawyer
It’s crucial to note that many people do not carry scales with them and, as a result, may be unaware of the quantity of marijuana they possess. While some law enforcement officials may be lenient, others are eager to charge individuals to the fullest extent of the law. If you have been arrested for any marijuana-related offense, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Ohio Legalizes Medical Marijuana for Patients
Ohio recently joined the ranks of the 25 states that have legalized medical marijuana. On June 8th, Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 523, which permits the use of medical marijuana by eligible Ohioans. However, the new law will take 90 days to take effect, and it will take longer for growers, dispensaries, and patients to get their own set of rules.
Until late 2017 or early 2018, Ohioans can legally import medical marijuana from other states. After that, commercial growers licensed by the Ohio Department of Commerce will be the only ones authorized to cultivate marijuana. Growing marijuana for personal use will remain illegal. The regulatory authority in Ohio will be the Board of Pharmacy, which will establish an advisory committee to determine the form and THC content of permitted medical marijuana.
From September 6th, 2016, Ohioans with a doctor’s recommendation will be allowed to bring medical marijuana across state lines. Physicians are permitted to recommend medical marijuana for individuals with a range of medical conditions, including AIDS, ALS, Alzheimer’s, cancer, CTE, Crohn’s, seizure disorders, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, IBS, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury, ulcerative colitis, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, and chronic, severe or intractable pain.
It is important to note that recreational marijuana is still illegal under the new law, and smoking marijuana remains prohibited. However, the use of vaporizers, edibles, and oils is permitted. Bill 523 also does not protect individuals using medical marijuana from being fired if their employer prohibits its use, and they will not receive unemployment compensation if they are terminated.
One issue that needs to be addressed is the potential conflict with the Cole Memorandum, which aims to prevent marijuana from crossing state lines. Ohio will need to work with federal prosecutors to avoid any interference from the DEA.
Is recreational marijuana legal in Ohio?
No, recreational marijuana is not legal in Ohio. Possession of less than 100 grams is considered a minor misdemeanor, resulting in a $150 fine. Anything over 100 grams is considered a criminal offense and can result in a standard misdemeanor or felony charge.
Can I grow my own marijuana in Ohio?
No, growing or cultivating marijuana in Ohio is illegal, except for approved dispensaries.
Can I use medical marijuana in Ohio?
Yes, medical marijuana is legal in Ohio, but its use is strictly regulated under the state’s Medical Marijuana Control Program. You must have a qualifying medical condition and enroll in the state registry to obtain marijuana from state-approved dispensaries.
What should I do if I’m facing marijuana charges in Ohio?
If you’re facing any marijuana-related charges, it’s important to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
In Ohio, the legal status of marijuana and cannabis products is complex and constantly changing. While medical marijuana use is legal and recreational use is decriminalized up to a certain point, it’s crucial to understand the nuances of Ohio’s laws to avoid potential legal issues. If you’re facing any marijuana-related charges, it’s important to seek the guidance of a skilled criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.