Many wonder whether marijuana prohibition is still a thing in Ohio. The answer shouldn’t surprise you!
As more and more states begin to regulate marijuana, Ohio has been doing so since 2016. This state currently has medical marijuana laws in place, despite these drugs remaining prohibited at the federal level.
But even with local decriminalization, Ohio has mandatory minimum sentences in place for when the rules are broken. In these instances, the judge has to sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence.
In this post, we cover the ins and outs of cannabis legality in Ohio. We’ll discuss medical marijuana possession, adult-use legalization, cultivation laws, and more.
Keep reading to learn more about herb legalization for patient and personal use in Ohio.
Ohio Legalization 2022
Ohio votes might have the option to support legal adult-use marijuana, including home cultivation, through a signature collection. This could happen as soon as 2022.
In August 2021, the state board gave the go-ahead for organizers to start obtaining tens of thousands of signatures in support of adult-use cannabis legalization. If they gather around 133,000 signatures, the “Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” organizers would be able to hand their proposal to the Ohio General Assembly.
If this happens, lawmakers would be granted four months to act on the proposed law that would legalize cannabis for adults 21 years of age or older. The goal is in the name; this group wants to regulate cannabis like alcohol.
This coalition was working to legalize cannabis access using a process called “initiated statute.” This process involves getting enough signatures to the point that it forces lawmakers to consider their proposal. If the lawmakers do not act for four months following the signatures’ submittal, the coalition would then have the ability to place the initiative on the ballot for 2022’s election.
If this proposal passes, cannabis will be taxed at 10% at the point of sale. Then, 25% of the proceeds would go towards fighting substance abuse. Also, 36% would become a community host fund that supports localities with dispensaries. The social equity and jobs program would receive 3% to allocate towards remedying the damage that resulted from the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis-related laws.
Keep in mind, Ohio marijuana law isn’t super strict. Those who are convicted of possession don’t face severe punishment if it’s less than 100 grams. This is a minor misdemeanor that calls for no jail time and a maximum fine of $150. But the courts still have the option to suspend one’s driver’s license from between 6 months and five years if convicted.
Rules & Regulations for Medical Marijuana Patients
House Bill 523 was adopted by Ohio lawmakers in 2016. This legislation effectively altered the state’s medical cannabis laws, which didn’t allow patient access to the plant at the time.
The Buckeye State legalized medical cannabis, and since legalization, the formerly illegal medicine has gained momentum. Patients who want to control their treatment plan now have permission to do so with marijuana.
So far, the state has expanded its list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. Much like in Michigan, dispensaries are still continuing to open regularly as the state has approved these operations with the right license.
Looking to the present and future, we expect Ohio’s cannabis law to continue its expansion. Medical marijuana legalization has encouraged more education on the subject, and the state’s legal marijuana sector has grown in much the same way as other states.
Here’s what you should know about Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program:
Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program Summarized
Ohio has implemented its medical cannabis program and a system of rules that govern it. To fully ensure this state’s patients are fully educated on the rules they’ll have to follow while holding their Ohio Marijuana Card, we outline the more critical things the program covers.
While the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program protects MMJ patients, it does not come without a set of rules and regulations for compliance.
The registration fee must be paid annually. This costs $50. Patients also have to be in the Patient Registry to get served by dispensaries.
As a caregiver, one must pay an annual fee of $25. However, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy has the choice to reduce the registration fee by 50% if the patient qualifies for social security, disabilities, or supplemental income (SSI/SSDI, or has veteran status. If the patient is a veteran, they must show their veteran card along with a record that shows honorable discharge.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Ohio
Getting an MMJ card in Ohio is ideal for patients that need access. This application process at the local level allows dispensaries to sell to these individuals as it tells these operations that the patient has at least one of the state’s qualifying conditions.
Once a patient confirms that they have a qualifying condition, they must schedule an appointment with a certified medical marijuana doctor. This is the way to verify a qualifying condition. But as a patient, you’ll still need to have medical records that verify the qualifying condition or conditions, along with a valid form of State I.D.
After receiving a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana, the patient will then receive a signed letter from the doctor that acts as a placeholder until the official Ohio marijuana card file is sent from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. But this does not give adults access to the medical herb. Permission comes later.
Patients will find access denied if they attempt to access a medical cannabis dispensary using the signed doctor’s recommendation letter. However, this signed letter can be used as secondary proof that a patient is an approved medical cannabis patient in Ohio.
Once the patient receives and downloads this file they have access to the medical cannabis dispensaries. The recommendation gets processed by the State Board of Pharmacy and this entity will enroll the patient in the Patient Registry.
After the patient receives an email from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy that they’ve been approved, the patient must pay the State fee and print out the official Ohio Marijuana Card.
The Ohio Marijuana Card gives patients access to cannabis dispensaries in the State of Ohio. As a caregiver, one must be registered with the State. This allows caregivers the access they need to buy, have, and administer medical cannabis products for and to qualified patients. Patients are allowed two caregivers and caregivers can serve two patients.
Reciprocity in Ohio
Ohio hasn’t established reciprocity with other states that permit medical cannabis. Thus, with access denied to out-of-staters, all patients in Ohio don’t have permission to use or access to these plants.
However, equally important to note is that this could change in the future. While it might not be on the ballot in 2022, just because dispensary access denied patients are common now does not mean they will always be barred from obtaining their medicine in this state.
The main issue with reciprocity is that Federal prohibition still makes it illegal to cross state borders with these products, even if they’re for medicinal use. But the state, like many others, can bypass federal jurisdiction with its own initiative by giving dispensaries permission to sell to out-of-state medical users at their own discretion.
Minors & Medical Cannabis in Ohio
Minors may think they’ll face access denied signs at the dispensaries. However, if the minor has a parent or legal guardian who consents for medical cannabis treatment, it’s permitted. The parent or legal guardian must submit a caregiver registration through the OMMCP’s website. Then, the licensed caregiver is responsible for purchasing the medical cannabis products on behalf of the minor.
Adult Use Marijuana Law in Ohio
Dispensary access denied to adult consumers may eventually be a thing of the past. As more signatures are gathered, we can expect this cause to make its way to the ballot in 2022.
Eventually, a bill may pass to permit a legal adult-use marketplace. This will involve licenses, cannabusinesses that report to the state’s regulating authority, and an influx of cash into its economy. But we’ll need to walk before we run with a recreational bill in Ohio.
Here’s some additional insight into Ohio cannabis laws and penalties to keep in mind until legalization becomes a reality:
Cannabis Laws & Penalties in Ohio
Possession Laws in Ohio
Possession law in Ohio is rather simple. For less than 100 grams, it’s a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $150. For 100 to 200 grams, this misdemeanor comes with a maximum fine of $250 and 30 days incarceration.
For those in possession of 200 to 1,000 grams, it’s a felony charge. This can result in a maximum fine of $2,500 and a year in prison.
Someone caught with 1,000 to 20,000 grams of cannabis face a felony charge, too. This can land someone in prison for a year to five years, and result in a maximum fine of $10,000.
If the offense is for between 20,000 and 40,000 grams, this is a felony charge. If convicted, this charge results in five to eight years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
Beyond 40,000 grams of marijuana results in a felony that can carry an eight-year prison sentence. The maximum fine one can expect to pay is $20,000.
Sale/Distribution/Trafficking Laws in Ohio
If someone gives a gift of 20 grams or less and it’s their first offense, the State is lenient. This is a misdemeanor charge with a maximum fine of $150. But if it’s the second time, this misdemeanor can result in up to 60 days in jail and $500 in fines.
For less than 200 grams but more than 20, this is a felony. Those convicted face up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. For 200 to 1,000 grams, this felony can land a convict in prison for 18 months. But this carries the same fine of $2,500.
For 1,000 to 20,000 grams, this is a felony one can expect to face one to five years in prison. This can also include a maximum fine of up to $10,000.
If the person is caught trafficking 20,000 to 40,000 grams, this felony can land them in prison for five to eight years. This is a five-year minimum sentence, and the most they’ll pay in fines is $15,000.
For beyond 40,000 grams, this felony can result in eight years incarcerated (mandatory minimum sentence) and up to $20,000 in fines.
Hash & Concentrates Laws in Ohio
For those interested in hash and concentrates, there are some limitations that could result in legal issues. Possessing less than 5 grams of solid or 1 gram of liquid is a misdemeanor. This comes with up to $150 in fines. If it’s between 5 and 10 grams of solid or one to two grams of liquid, this is still a misdemeanor. However, you may face up to 30 days in jail and up to $250 in fines.
Possession of 10 to 50 grams of solid or two to ten grams of liquid is a felony. This can result in one year of imprisonment and up to $2,500 in fines.
The penalties get more severe with more weight. At 50 to 1,000 grams of solid or 10 to 200 grams of liquid, this felony can result in up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. For 1,000 grams or more of solid or 200 grams or more of liquid, it’s a felony with up to eight years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000.
Sales of these products result in a felony charge. For less than 10 grams of solid or 2 grams of liquid, a seller can face a year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. Selling 10 to 50 grams of solid or two to ten grams of liquid can result in 18 months imprisonment and up to $5,000 in fines.
For anyone caught selling 50 to 1,000 grams of solid or 10 to 200 grams of liquid, this is a felony that can result in up to three years in prison. It can also carry a fine of up to $10,000.
Someone convicted of selling 1,000 grams or more of solid or in excess of 200 grams of liquid faces a felony charge. This can result in eight years imprisonment and up to $15,000 in fines. The same goes for manufacturing these products.
Rules & Regulations for Adult-Use & Medical Marijuana Cultivators
Legalization will eventually extend to cultivation. However, at this point, it’s prohibited and there are some penalties involved for illegal cultivation without permission.
The penalties associated with growing cannabis plants without permission coincide with the amount cultivated, as well as more harsh penalties for second or subsequent offenses. Cultivation within 1,000 feet of a school or within 100 feet of a child also carries harsher punishments.
For up to 100 grams, this is a minor misdemeanor. Violators incur a $150 fine without jail time, and this is not included in the defendant’s criminal record.
For between 100 and 200 grams, this is considered a fourth-degree misdemeanor. This violation calls for penalties that can include a fine of up to $250, as much as 30 days in jail or a combination of the two.
If someone is caught cultivating between 200 and 1,000 grams, they face a fifth-degree felony charge. The penalties for this can include a fine of as much as $2,500, as much as one year in jail, or a combination of the two.
A person caught cultivating between 1,000 and 20,000 grams of cannabis is charged with a third-degree felony. For this crime, they face a fine of up to $10,000, as much as five years in prison, or a combination of the two.
For someone who is caught with a massive grow operation handling between 20,000 and 40,000 grams, this is a second-degree felony. The penalties for this can include a fine of as much as $15,000, anywhere from five to eight years in prison, or a combination of the two.
Growers caught with beyond 40,000 grams of cannabis cultivation are charged with a second-degree felony. They face penalties include a fine of up to $20,000, a minimum of eight years in prison, or a combination of the two.
Ohio Marijuana FAQ
Can you buy flower marijuana in Ohio?
For those holding an Ohio marijuana card, cannabis is available in various forms at dispensaries throughout the state. You can purchase flower marijuana, along with vape pens, concentrated THC oils, extracts, topicals, edibles, and more!
Can you go to jail for possession of marijuana in Ohio?
Yes, it’s possible to go to jail for possession in Ohio. However, if it’s a first-time offense, the court will not send you to jail. Keep in mind, this is for less than 100 grams. Anything upwards of 100 grams carries a jail sentence.
Can you get fired for having a medical marijuana card in Ohio?
Unfortunately, you can be fired for having and using a medical marijuana card in Ohio. If you test positive for THC upon submitting a drug test your employer requests, you may lose your job. Since the herb is still technically illegal for recreational use, having a medical marijuana card doesn’t offer protection from termination for testing positive for THC.
Did Ohio legalize medical marijuana?
Ohio was the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana. This happened when House Bill 523 created Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program, which has been in place since September 8, 2016. While some licensing delays were inevitable, on January 16, 2019, four medical cannabis dispensaries opened in Ohio.
Concluding on Marijuana Legality in Ohio
While we wait for Ohio to introduce and approve a measure that allows the adult-use marketplace, many entrepreneurs will continue to create their own paths. Despite the state lacking a bill to legalize operations and consumption for adult use, we can expect the access denied to so many to be lifted in the not too distant future.
Ohio stands to explode with the green rush once it implements a bill that lifts the current restrictions. But until then, we’ll have to wait and prepare for cannabis legalization in Ohio.
Looking for ways to prepare your operation for Ohio marijuana legalization? Our experts are here to help!
Contact us now to learn how we’ll scale your cannabusiness in Ohio with the right organization and financial structuring.