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Crossing State Lines with Medical Marijuana in Ohio: Is It Legal?

Updated: November 20, 2023
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.

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Prescriptions for medical marijuana help numerous people who suffer from chronic pain and illness.

Recognizing the potential health benefits for patients, Ohio joined dozens of other states when it allowed physicians to prescribe marijuana for their patients.

However, Ohio has strict rules for using and purchasing medical marijuana.

As a result, transporting marijuana across state lines remains illegal, even if you have a valid prescription.

Ohio’s drug laws are some of the toughest in the nation.

If you face charges for transporting marijuana across state lines, you will need a tough and aggressive lawyer to fight on your behalf.

The drug defense lawyers with Gounaris Abboud, LPA., have the knowledge and experience you need to give you the best chance at avoiding the life-altering consequences of a conviction.

Give us a call at (937) 222-1515 or reach us online today for a free consultation.

Why Can’t You Bring Medical Marijuana Across State Lines?

Ohio’s medical marijuana legislation is an exception to the general rule that prohibits possession of drugs. Ohio still recognizes marijuana as a controlled substance.

As a result, the state heavily regulates the distribution and possession of medical marijuana.

Having a prescription for medical marijuana in Ohio does not allow you to possess an unlimited quantity of marijuana.

Additionally, having a prescription for medical marijuana does not allow you to sell it, give it away, distribute it, or possess more than a 90-day supply.

Caregivers of people who have medical marijuana prescriptions and workers in licensed dispensaries are the only people allowed by law to distribute marijuana.

Moreover, you cannot grow your own marijuana despite having a valid medical marijuana prescription.

Ohio does not recognize marijuana cards issued by other states. Similarly, many other states do not recognize an Ohio marijuana card as valid to purchase medical marijuana in that state.

Notwithstanding, some states allow people 21 years of age and older to purchase recreational marijuana.

The strict limitations Ohio law imposes on people who have marijuana prescriptions means that transporting marijuana across state lines is illegal.

Accordingly, obtaining medical marijuana in Ohio and bringing it with you to another state is illegal.

Additionally, buying marijuana in another state and bringing it into Ohio is also illegal, even if you bought it legally in that state.

The only marijuana you can lawfully possess in Ohio is the marijuana you buy with a valid prescription in Ohio from a licensed distributor.

What Is the Penalty for Transporting Marijuana Across State Lines?

Ohio drug laws carry stiff penalties, although the law treats marijuana differently than other types of narcotics. Possessing less than 100 grams of marijuana is a minor misdemeanor.

The maximum penalty for a minor misdemeanor is a $150 fine. Possession of marijuana becomes a more serious offense as the weight of the drug increases.

The penalties increase incrementally as follows:

  • Possession of more than 100 grams but less than 200 grams is a fourth-degree misdemeanor. A fourth-degree misdemeanor carries a potential maximum jail sentence of up to 30 days;
  • Possessing between 200 grams and 1,000 grams is a fifth-degree felony, which carries between 6 to 12 months of imprisonment;
  • Possessing 1,000 grams but less than 20,000 grams is a third-degree felony that carries a punishment of nine months to five years of incarceration;
  • Possession of 20,000 to 40,000 grams of marijuana is a second-degree felony that carries between five and eight years of incarceration.
  • More than 40,000 grams of marijuana is a second-degree felony. The penalty under Ohio law for a second-degree felony is a minimum of eight years in prison.

Please note that varying fines may also accompany these penalties.

Also, selling, transporting, or delivering drugs to another person violates Ohio’s drug trafficking law.

The penalties for trafficking are much greater than those listed above for simple possession. Aggravating circumstances such as subsequent offenses or possessing a firearm can also add years to your sentence.

Delivering marijuana across state lines is a federal crime. Also, possession and distribution of marijuana are crimes under federal law.

However, federal marijuana trafficking charges apply when someone has 100 kilograms or more of marijuana or 100 plants. That charge carries a five-year minimum mandatory sentence under federal law.

Are There Any Defenses for Transporting Marijuana Across State Lines?

An experienced and skilled Ohio drug defense attorney can help you plan a specific defense for your case. Although each case is as different as the people involved, there are common defense tactics that can be helpful.

For example, you can contest the legality of the police action by filing a motion to suppress.

This type of motion asks the judge to throw out evidence police found as a result of violating your search and seizure rights.

Additionally, you can ask a judge to throw out any statements you made if the police failed to read your Miranda rights to you. Also, you can ask a judge to dismiss the charges against you for lack of evidence.

You always have the right to contest the allegations against you at a trial. You have the right to declare your innocence and force the state to prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt.

Depending on the case, the prosecution might not have enough evidence to prove you possessed the marijuana seized by police.

You can enter plea negotiations with the prosecution as well. Depending on the facts, your prior criminal history, and other factors, you might be able to convince the prosecution to offer you an advantageous plea bargain.

If the prosecution does not make you an acceptable offer, then your lawyer can try to persuade the judge to grant you a lighter sentence.


Attitudes regarding marijuana are slowly changing. However, you face serious consequences if you have a conviction for transporting marijuana across state lines.

Take a stand right away to defend your freedom. Just because you were charged does not mean that you are guilty.

At Gounaris Abboud, LPA., our award-winning drug defense lawyers have decades of experience defending the rights of people just like you.

Through tireless dedication to our clients, we have received numerous recognitions such as our inclusion on the Ohio Super Lawyers list and our inclusion in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers List from the National Trial Lawyers Association.

We also have a Five-Star Google rating from our clients.

Call us today at (937) 729-3863 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case analysis from our experienced drug defense lawyers.

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