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Ohio Medical Marijuana Laws — Everything You Should Know

Updated: May 30, 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.

Medical marijuana has been available for purchase in Ohio since 2019. If you need tailored guidance on medical marijuana laws and drug charges, call (937)-222-1515 or reach out through our online contact form to speak with experienced Dayton drug lawyers today.

Ohio Recreational Use of Marijuana Legalized in Ohio!

In November of 2023, Ohio voters said “YES” to legalizing adult use of cannabis for non-medicinal purposes. This means that Ohio now allows the recreational use of cannabis for adult-use consumers. Ohio has regulations in place that authorize and regulate the cultivation, processing, sale, purchase, possession, home growing, and use of cannabis by adults ages 21 and over.

What’s the Difference Between Ohio’s Medical and Recreational Marijuana?

In reality, medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are the same plant. There is no physical or scientific difference between the two. In other words, the same plant can be classified as medical or recreational, depending on the legal channels used to produce and put the plant’s produce up for sale.

Instead of referring to the characteristics of the plants, the terms “recreational” and “medical” refer to the legal authority behind a particular cannabis plant or medical cannabis product. Ohio has recreational and legal marijuana, both of which are controlled by strict laws and rules of purchase, possession, and use. Herein is where the principal differences between the two lie.

To obtain medical marijuana in Ohio, consumers must jump through far more hoops than recreational users will have to once recreational sales begin.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Ohio?

Yes. Ohio is one of many medical marijuana states in the nation. Known as the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP), the medical marijuana system in Ohio permits the cultivation, sale, possession, and use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Qualified patients may acquire legalized medical marijuana in Ohio in various forms from licensed dispensaries, which must comply with numerous legal and quality-control standards. The revenue contributes to various funds, such as the host community cannabis fund.

Obtaining medical marijuana outside of MMCP guidelines and regulations is illegal and can be punished severely with criminal charges.

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.”

Cannabis control laws provide a list of all qualifying medical conditions, which currently includes the following:

  • AIDS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy (and other seizure disorders)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • HIV
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Spasticity
  • 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.

How to Obtain Approval for Medical Marijuana

Suffering from one of the above-listed conditions qualifies you to become a medical marijuana consumer in Ohio. However, you must take several crucial steps before you will be allowed to purchase, possess, or use medical marijuana.

First, you must visit a qualified doctor with an active certificate to recommend the use of medical marijuana. The doctor will examine you to determine whether you indeed suffer from a qualifying condition. If so, they will add your name to the patient registry.

According to state law, patients sitting for a medical marijuana evaluation must have a valid state-issued ID, which may include a driver’s license, state identification card, or a U.S. Passport. Failure to show proper ID will bar you from participating in the medical marijuana program.

If approved to be one of Ohio’s medical marijuana patients, you will initially receive a prescription for medical marijuana.

Here are some important details about all medical marijuana prescriptions:

  • 90-day supply prescriptions are available.
  • Prescriptions may be refilled up to three times a year.
  • At least one doctor visit per year is required to continue receiving medical marijuana.

The final step is to complete the registration process, which is thoroughly detailed in an email. The process requires the payment of an annual fee of $50 for patients. Caregivers pay $25 per year.

Where Can I Purchase Medical Marijuana?

Where Can I Purchase Medical Marijuana?

Ohio permits the sale of medical marijuana only within licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. The Ohio Department of Commerce is authorized to regulate marijuana produced in these establishments and expressly prohibits anyone but qualified caregivers and patients from entering and engaging in medical marijuana transactions.

The Ohio Department of Commerce also collects sales tax revenue for the tax commissioner fund. This tax fund is meant to support the costs of administering the tax. To find a dispensary, simply use this Ohio Medical Marijuana Dispensary Map. Once you find the right location, don’t forget to bring your medical marijuana card and a valid state-issued ID.

How Much Cannabis Can I Have?

Although medical marijuana is legal in Ohio, there are important restrictions on how much medical marijuana a patient is allowed to possess. A close look at Ohio’s cannabis industry possession guidelines shows them to be within the envelope of possession utilized by other medical marijuana states.

In all cases, medical marijuana patients should take the time and care to ensure that they are meeting the possession limits called for by law and avoid costly criminal charges that can negatively affect employment, housing, and more. Fines and court costs also come with criminal charges, and in some cases, jail time is even a possibility.

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.

✓ Up to fifty-three and one-tenths grams of THC content in medical marijuana oil for vaporization.

Protect yourself and your future from marijuana charges and the consequences. Contact our Dayton criminal defense lawyers today! Get the on-point legal counsel your case deserves. Contact Gounaris Abboud for a confidential consultation.

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Can I Use Medical Marijuana and Drive?

There is no situation in Ohio where driving under the influence of marijuana is legal. Even legitimate patients with valid medical marijuana cards are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle when under the influence of marijuana. Marijuana can significantly impair your judgment and driving abilities and increase the risk of an accident.

Police officers use field sobriety and chemical tests to identify and arrest drivers under the influence of medical marijuana. This leads to a charge of operating a vehicle impaired (OVI).

The consequences include:

  • License suspension
  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • Court costs

Patients are strongly advised to avoid getting behind the wheel at all or until long after the effects of medical marijuana have worn off completely.

Can I Travel with Medical Marijuana Outside of Ohio?

No. You are not allowed to take medical marijuana obtained through Ohio’s medical marijuana program outside of Ohio. Federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which means the feds do not recognize any legitimate medical use for marijuana. It is prohibited federally throughout the entire United States.

Crossing state lines with medical marijuana could be prosecuted as a federal crime. Flying domestically with medical marijuana from Ohio may also result in criminal charges because airports are under federal jurisdiction. In other words, Ohio medical marijuana is meant to be exchanged and consumed only within the state of Ohio.

Know Your Rights and Limits

Medical marijuana treatment and products are available for qualified patients in the state of Ohio. They should take the time to familiarize themselves with every aspect of the regulations. Doing so will allow them to legally consume marijuana with peace of mind and without running into legal problems.

If you are dealing with issues concerning medical cannabis legalization in Ohio, contact the experienced Dayton criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud for a free consultation and the effective representation you need.

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