The legal status of marijuana and cannabis products seems to be in constant flux. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but many states (including Ohio) have legalized medical use of marijuana (or derivatives), and nearly a dozen states have legalized recreational marijuana.
Ohio’s laws have changed significantly over the past decade in a more permissive direction. However, marijuana remains illegal in many instances, and the nuances are important. What you don’t know can still hurt you in criminal court.
Legal Medical Use
Marijuana for medical use is strictly governed under Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program. In order to be in legal compliance, you need to have a qualifying medical condition, have a physician help you enroll in the state registry and obtain marijuana only through a state-approved dispensary.
You can possess only as much as a 90-day supply and cannot grow or otherwise obtain your own marijuana.
Decriminalized vs. Criminalized Possession (Recreational Use)
Here is where things can get a little confusing. Recreational marijuana is illegal in Ohio, but possession is not always criminal. If you are caught in possession of less than 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces), it is considered a minor misdemeanor and you can face a $150 fine. Usually, however, a minor misdemeanor won’t become part of your criminal record.
Anything more than 100 grams is considered criminal, and it can be charged as a standard misdemeanor or a felony (depending on quantity). Potential consequences for conviction vary based on a number of details, including charges/quantity and any aggravating factors.
Growing/cultivating marijuana is illegal in all circumstances (outside of approved dispensaries), and anyone caught growing/cultivating will likely be charged with possession.
Facing Charges? Consult With A Criminal Defense Lawyer.
Many people don’t carry kitchen scales with them. You may think you have less than 100 grams on you, but what if it’s more? Some police/prosecutors may be lenient, but others are eager to charge whatever they can. If you’ve been arrested for any marijuana offense, please don’t assume that things will work themselves out. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as reasonably possible.