Ohio Marijuana laws have recently changed. The recent decision to legalize medical marijuana makes Ohio the 25th state to do so. One complication in the law is that each municipality has the right to opt out, so how the law is administered will depend on where you live. The new law does provide medical marijuana users with an affirmative defense against prosecution for marijuana possession. To benefit from such a defense, the person charged will need to prove that it was medically necessary, prescribed by a physician, and the marijuana was acquired from a state dispensary. The physician must state that:
- That the patient has been diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition
- That the physician has gone over the risks and benefits of using medical marijuana.
- That the physician thinks the benefits to the patient using marijuana outweigh the risks.
Only certain marijuana substances are allowed and include edibles, patches, oils, and tinctures (a type of solution). Also certain marijuana substances and uses are not allowed, such as the smoking of marijuana, growing marijuana, or the possession of certain edibles (such as gummies) that would be attractive to children.
Recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in Ohio and can result in being charged with possession.
Possession of Marijuana in Ohio (Under 100mg)
Ohio’s penalties for possession of marijuana are considered lenient compared to many states, particularly for quantities of less than 100 grams (considered a personal supply). Being convicted of possession of marijuana will typically result in a fine not to exceed $150, and the fine can sometimes be replaced with community service. A conviction most likely will not become part of your criminal record, either.
Possession of Marijuana in Ohio (Over 100mg)
Once you exceed the amount considered the limit for personal possession of marijuana, the penalties can become severe. Ohio determines penalties based on the amount of marijuana you possess in grams (not number of plants).
Penalties for Possession or Distribution of Marijuana in Ohio
Possession of more than 100mg – a personal amount of marijuana – and/or the possession of measuring devices and baggies – may well be enough proof of intent to distribute. You can be charged with distribution of marijuana in Ohio based on how much you possess and what other paraphernalia you have, even if you are not caught in the act of selling. The penalties for possession and distribution or intent to distribute marijuana escalate with how much you possess and whether you are near a minor(s) or school.
Ohio Marijuana Penalties
|Possession Amount||Charge||Jail Time||Fine|
|<100g||Minor misdemeanor||None||$150 or community service|
|100g-200g||4th deg. misdemeanor||Up to 30 days||$250 maximum fine|
|Near minor or school||3rd deg. misdemeanor||Up to 60 days||$500 maximum fine|
|200g-1,000g||5th degree felony||Up to 1 year||$2,500 maximum fine|
|Near minor or school||4th degree felony||Up to 18 mos.||$5,000 maximum fine|
|1,000g-20,000g||3rd degree felony||Up to 5 years||$10,000 max fine|
|Near minor or school||2nd degree felony||2-8 years||$15,000 max fine|
|20,000g or more||2nd degree felony||Up to 8 years||$15,000 max fine|
|Near minor or school||1st degree felony||Up to 10 years||$20,000 max fine|
Federal Prosecution for Possession and Distribution of Marijuana
Though medical marijuana is legal in half of the states and Washington, D.C., the federal government still considers it an illegal drug and classifies it as a Schedule 1 drug on the Federal Controlled Substances Act. While the Department of Justice will not prosecute cases in which possession of marijuana is legal in the state, they will still prosecute interstate possession and distribution, particularly where possession of marijuana is still illegal in one of the states. While the parent of a child who travels to Colorado for the purpose of obtaining medical marijuana to treat the child’s seizures would likely not be a target for federal prosecution, anyone possessing and transporting marijuana from Colorado or any other state for recreational use, especially large amounts with the intent to distribute, would risk federal prosecution.
Because marijuana laws across the nation and in Ohio are in such a state of flux, it is advisable to retain an experienced defense attorney if you have been charged with possession of marijuana in Ohio. An experienced criminal defense attorney will help determine whether you have any defenses to the charge(s) and thoroughly discuss your options. Should you decide to go to trial, a criminal defense attorney is an absolute necessity. For more information and a free consultation, please contact Jeff Hastings, experienced Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney.