Ohio Marijuana Laws: Is Marijuana Legal in Ohio?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Possession of marijuana is illegal in Ohio. Currently, there is a bill working its way through Ohio’s legislative process that, if passed, would legalize medical marijuana in Ohio. However, despite polls showing that Ohio residents are strongly in favor of legalizing cannabis for medical marijuana patients, the bill is not expected to be approved by the legislature. Even if medicinal marijuana were made legal according to Ohio state law, it would still be illegal under federal law. Note that marijuana is spelled “marihuana” in all Ohio statutes.

What are the penalties for the possession of marijuana in Ohio?

Ohio’s marijuana possession penalties are some of the most lenient in the country when it comes to personal use amounts. The amount of marijuana you possess also has an effect on the criminal penalties you could face. As long as you possess 100 grams of marijuana or less, Ohio marijuana possession does not even go on your criminal record. However, this leniency does not carry through to cases of marijuana distribution or for possession of amounts over 100 grams. Unlike many other states, Ohio’s penalties are based entirely on weight rather than the number of marijuana plants, and if you are convicted of distribution or possession of more than 100 grams, penalties in Ohio can include incarceration, fines, and marijuana addiction treatment. It is also worth noting that possession of synthetic forms of marijuana  (tetrahydrocannabinol, aka THC) or concentrated marijuana (hashish) will often warrant stiffer penalties than possession of organic marijuana. However, the substance known as K2, which attempts to imitate the effects of marijuana, is still legal in Ohio.

In order to be charged with attempted distribution of marijuana in Ohio, you do not have to be caught in the act of selling it. On the contrary, possessing a large amount of marijuana, measuring equipment, baggies, or other drug paraphernalia is evidence that suggests your intent to sell. The table below indicates Ohio penalties for acts related to the possession and distribution of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia. Keep in mind that there are separate penalties under federal law. Due to the sometimes complicated nature of Ohio’s marijuana laws, specific penalties (particularly minimum sentences) could vary depending on your particular circumstances, so consulting an experienced Ohio criminal attorney may be the best way to go.

Ohio Marijuana Penalties Table

Activity Amount Incarceration Fine (max)1 Classification 3

or Cultivate

100 g or less 5 $150 2 Minor Misdemeanor Offense
100 g to 200 g Regular 30 days max $250 4th Degree Misdemeanor
Near school or minor 5 60 days max $500 Misdemeanor (3rd Degree)
200 g to 1,000 g Regular 1-year max $2,500 Felony (5th Degree)
Near school or minor 5 18 months $5,000 Felony (4th Degree)
1,000 g to 20,000 g Regular 5 years max 4 $10,000 Felony (3rd Degree)
Near school or minor 5 2-8 years $15,000 Felony (2nd Degree)
20,000 g or more Regular 8 years $15,000 Felony (2nd Degree)
Near school or minor 5 10 years $20,000 Felony (1st Degree)

Sale or Gift

Gift of 20 g or less 1st Offense 5 $150 2 Minor Misdemeanor
2nd Offense 60 days $500 Misdemeanor (3rd Degree)
Less than 200 g 5 1-year max $2,500 Felony (5th Degree)
200 g to 1,000 g 5 18 months $5,000 Felony (4th Degree)
1,000 g to 20,000 g 5 5 years max 4 $10,000 Felony (3rd Degree)
20,000 g or more Regular 8 years $15,000 Felony (2nd Degree)
Near school or minor 5 10 years $20,000 Felony (1st Degree)
  1. Fines may be increased in certain circumstances.
  2. Community service may be imposed in lieu of a fine.
  3. Minor misdemeanors do not go on your criminal record.
  4. At 5,000 grams or above, the chances of serving at least a 1-year prison sentence are greater.
  5. Ohio Marijuana cultivation and distribution offenses committed within the vicinity of a school or minor result in enhanced penalties. The enhanced penalty does not apply to possession offenses. If there is no penalty designated on the table for offenses committed “near school or minor,” the next greater penalty on the table is applied.
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    Will Ohio ever make the possession and use of marijuana legal?

    Will Ohio ever make the possession and use of marijuana legal?

    It would be a good idea to check back to this article annually, because marijuana legalization is becoming more popular in other states, so it likely won’t be long for Ohio to follow this trend. Normally, states begin legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes then later move on to legalize recreational cannabis use.

    Medical marijuana users across the country have expressed how beneficial medical cannabis has been for their health. And with the marijuana industry growing annually, it will likely follow that a medical marijuana program and recreational marijuana industry, will be established in more states as proof of how the benefits of improving medical conditions and increased tax revenue are observed.

Follow this link for more information about Ohio Marijuana Laws and Ohio Medical Marijuana Laws

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