Over the past fifteen years, society’s attitude towards marijuana has changed significantly. In 2016, Ohio voters passed House Bill 523 into law, which allowed Ohioans to legally use medical marijuana for the first time.
However, due to complications in implementing the medical marijuana regulatory framework, it wasn’t until 2019 that people could purchase medical marijuana.
However, even though medical marijuana is legal in Ohio, there are still significant restrictions on who is eligible for medical marijuana, when and where you can consume marijuana, and how much marijuana a medical cardholder can possess.
Who Is Eligible for an Ohio Medical Marijuana Card?
In Ohio, medical marijuana is only available for patients who suffer from a “qualifying medical condition.” State law provides a list of all qualifying medical conditions, which currently includes the following:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,
- Alzheimer’s disease,
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy,
- Crohn’s disease,
- Epilepsy (and other seizure disorders),
- Hepatitis C,
- Huntington’s disease,
- Inflammatory bowel disease,
- Multiple sclerosis,
- Parkinson’s disease,
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
- Sickle cell anemia,
- Spinal cord disease or injury,
- Terminal illness,
- Tourette’s syndrome,
- Traumatic brain injury, and
- Ulcerative colitis.
Additionally, anyone who experiences “chronic and severe or intractable” pain can qualify for medical marijuana. This opens the door for someone to apply for marijuana if they have a disease, disorder, or injury that is not included in the list of enumerated conditions.
Each year, the State Medical Board of Ohio conducts a review process to determine whether new conditions should be added. Through this process, you can request that the Board add your condition to the list.
Obtaining Approval for Medical Marijuana
Just because you suffer from a listed condition does not mean that you can head down to your local dispensary and buy medical marijuana. You must first go through the registration process.
The first step to qualifying for medical marijuana in Ohio is to go to a doctor who has an active certificate to recommend (CTR) issued by the State Medical Board of Ohio. Typically, this requires an in-person visit with the physician.
During your visit, the physician will determine if you have a qualifying condition. If you do, they will then request that the Board add your name to the patient registry.
State law requires a physician to obtain your driver’s license, identification card, or U.S. passport to verify your identity. Caregivers can purchase and administer medical marijuana for those in their care, provided there is documentation of the arrangement.
If the doctor approves you for medical marijuana, they can write a prescription for a 90-day supply. The doctor can include up to three refills, totaling a one-year supply. Thus, you will need to visit a doctor at least once a year to continue receiving medical marijuana.
Once the doctor enters your name into the patient registry, you will receive an email outlining the registration process. You must then complete the registration process and pay the annual fee. The annual fee is $50 for patients and $25 for caregivers.
However, veterans and those patients who cannot afford to pay the fee may apply to pay a reduced amount.
Once you complete the registration process, the final step is to find a dispensary.
Limits on Ohio Medical Marijuana
While medical marijuana is legal, there are still many restrictions on its use. For example, growing marijuana is still illegal. To comply with the law, you must purchase medical marijuana through an approved dispensary.
You can also only possess up to a 90-day supply of marijuana at a time. State law defines what a 90-day supply is, based on the type of marijuana or cannabis product.
- Up to eight ounces of tier I medical marijuana (23% THC or less);
- Up to five and three-tenths ounces of tier II medical marijuana (more than 23% THC);
- Up to twenty-six and fifty-five-hundredths grams of THC content in patches, lotions, creams, or ointments for topical administration;
- Up to nine and nine-tenths grams of THC content in oil, tincture, capsule, or edibles; and
- Up to fifty-three and one-tenths grams of THC content in medical marijuana oil for vaporization.
Of course, it is also still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. In Ohio, this is referred to as operating a vehicle impaired (OVI). This presents a problem for many medical marijuana users because THC, the active component in medical marijuana, stays in your system for up to several days.
The inactive components of medical marijuana—which do not cause you to feel high or impact your driving—can remain in your system for weeks.
Anyone arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana may have a defense, depending on the amount of THC in their blood at the time of their arrest and whether they exhibited any signs of impaired driving.
An experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney can help you understand the laws and whether you have a viable defense to a marijuana OVI charge.
Contact an Experienced Marijuana Defense Attorney Today
If you face any marijuana-related charges in Ohio, reach out to the dedicated criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA. At Gounaris Abboud, our attorneys stay up-to-date on the frequently changing laws surrounding Ohio medical marijuana.
Regardless of the nature of the charges you face, we will develop a compelling defense to ensure the charges impact your life as little as possible.
To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with one of our Ohio medical marijuana defense attorneys, give us a call today. You can also connect with us through our online form.