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Ohio Drug Cultivation Laws and Penalties: What to Know

Updated: April 18, 2024
Nicholas G. Gounaris
By Nicholas G. Gounaris

Nicholas G. Gounaris is a skilled trial lawyer and founding partner of Gounaris Abboud law firm. He provides clients of the firm with competent legal representation and focuses his law practice in the areas of DUI Defense, Criminal Defense, Family Law Issues, Federal Criminal Law and Personal Injury cases.

drug cultivation laws

Growing marijuana in your home is illegal in Ohio.

Even though other states are relaxing their marijuana use and possession laws, the Ohio drug cultivation laws remain very strict.

So if you get arrested for drug cultivation, meaning that you were caught growing marijuana for personal use or selling it to others — that arrest can create significant legal problems for you.

Would you know where to turn for help if you are charged with growing marijuana in Ohio?

Such accusations mean that you need experienced, skilled, and successful attorneys who can help you avoid the consequences of a marijuana cultivation conviction.

Gounaris Abboud, LPA’s drug charge defense lawyer can give you the edge you need for a successful outcome in your case.

Our criminal defense lawyers received some of Ohio’s most prestigious awards for their exemplary legal skills and dedication to their clients.

What Are Ohio’s Marijuana Growing Laws?

Ohio law says that no person shall cultivate marijuana or manufacture or produce a controlled substance. The law is clear. However, you might wonder exactly what drug cultivation means in Ohio.

You can find the definition of cultivation in Section 2925.01(F) of the Ohio Revised Code. Illegal cultivation of marijuana refers to planting, watering, fertilizing, or tilling marijuana plants and seedlings.

It doesn’t matter how many plants you grow. Remarkably, even growing one plant can land you in jail in Ohio.

What Is the Penalty in Ohio for Growing Marijuana?

The penalty you face depends on the amount of marijuana you grow. Also, if you grow the plant within the vicinity of a school, the severity of the charge rises by one degree.

Growing marijuana is a minor misdemeanor if you have less than 100 grams.

You would pay a $150 fine unless it is in the vicinity of a school. In that case, the crime rises to a fourth-degree misdemeanor which could land you in jail for up to 30 days.

Cultivating more than 100 grams but less than 200 grams is also a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

But if you are caught growing that amount near a school, that charge rises to a third-degree misdemeanor, and you could go to jail for up to 60 days.

Felony Charges for Cultivating Marijuana

Cultivating over 200 grams of marijuana is a felony. If you have between 200 grams and 1 kilogram, then you could get 6-12 months in prison for a fifth-degree felony offense.

However, you could go to prison for up to 18 months for a fourth-degree felony if you committed the same act near a school.

You face a third-degree felony carrying between one and five years in prison if you cultivate one to five kilograms of marijuana.

However, your charges rise to second-degree felonies if you are in the vicinity of a school — and this can send you to prison for two to eight years.

Cultivating 5-20 kilograms of marijuana is a third-degree felony that carries a rebuttable presumption favoring incarceration that lasts one to five years.

This violation near a school increases the charge to a second-degree felony with a rebuttable presumption in favor of imposing a prison sentence of two to eight years.

If you are guilty of cultivating more than 20 kilograms of marijuana, then you face a mandatory sentence of eight years. This mandatory penalty increases to 10 years if you are near a school.

Do I Have Any Defenses?

You might have any number of defenses available to you. Having a frank conversation with an experienced Ohio drug defense lawyer can help you determine which course of action you should take.

For example, you can potentially:

  • Challenge the conduct of the police if they violate your rights;
  • Contest the evidence against you at trial because the state cannot prove you were the person cultivating marijuana;
  • Attempt to negotiate a lesser sentence in exchange for a guilty plea.

Some defenses might work better than others, depending on your case.

However, the only way you will know is if you speak with a lawyer from Gounaris Abboud, LPA, who has vast experience in Ohio defending marijuana cultivation cases.

Ohio’s marijuana cultivation statute gives you another possible defense.

Under Section 2925.04(F), you can knock your charge down from a fifth-degree felony to a misdemeanor if you can show that the gross weight of the marijuana you’re charged with does not reflect pure marijuana.

In other words, the law allows you to present evidence that the substances found are a mixture of substances, some of which are not drugs.

For example, you might argue that drug analysis shows that you mixed a legal substance like oregano with marijuana.

For this to work, you have to show that it’s more likely than not that the police found a mixture that contained some legal substances.

If you successfully challenge the weight of the marijuana, you might get your charges lowered to a misdemeanor.

Why Is a Misdemeanor Conviction for Cultivation Beneficial in Some Cases?

Ohio law says that an arrest or conviction for a minor misdemeanor conviction does not give you a criminal record.

That means you don’t have to tell a potential employer, educational institution, license application, or other inquiry into your criminal history that you’ve been arrested or convicted.

What Are the Growing Medical Marijuana Laws in Ohio?

There is one legal way to grow marijuana in Ohio. You have to obtain a license from the state to cultivate marijuana.

People who have medical marijuana cards in Ohio cannot grow their own marijuana — they can only buy it from a licensed facility.

Gounaris Abboud, LPA: Award-Winning Marijuana Cultivation Defense Lawyers

When you need help, turn to Gounaris Abboud. Contact us by calling 937-222-1515 today. When you ask for help, our experienced lawyers will prepare the strongest case possible for you.

Our attorneys have received numerous awards, including placement in the Top 50 Cincinnati Super Lawyers list and Top 100 in all of Ohio.

In 2021, we continued our streak of landing on the Ohio Super Lawyers list for the 10th consecutive year.

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