Even though half of American adults have tried it, recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in Ohio.
Efforts have been successful in some Ohio cities for decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of pot. However, you’re still facing legal consequences if an Ohio police officer charges you with illegally possessing marijuana.
The range of potential punishment stretches from a simple misdemeanor and fine, all the way to a felony with years in prison. It all hinges on how much of the leafy stuff is found in your possession.
In this article, we’ll delve deep into Ohio marijuana laws and explain when it’s legal and when it’s not. We’ll also talk about the potential legal consequences.
Is Marijuana Legal in Ohio?
It depends on how it’s used and in which Ohio city you’re in at the time of the charge.
As for recreational use of pot, that’s still illegal, although there’s a move afoot to decriminalize it. Some Ohio cities – including Dayton – have passed laws that lessen the punishment for possession of 100 grams of marijuana or less.
For reference, the average joint typically contains roughly 0.32 grams of marijuana.
What Are the Penalties for Possessing Marijuana in Ohio?
Keep in mind that decriminalization does not mean that pot is legal. Even though it’s been decriminalized at the city level, you still face possible legal consequences under state and federal drug laws.
- Less than 100 grams – misdemeanor – no jail, but a maximum fine of $150
- 100-200 grams – 4th degree misdemeanor – up to 30 days in jail and up to $250 in fines
- 201-999 grams – 5th degree felony – 6-12 months in jail
- 1000-4999 grams – 3rd degree felony – 1-5 years in jail
- 5000-19,999 grams – 3rd degree felony – 1-5 years in jail
- 20,000 – 40,000 grams – 2nd degree felony – 5-8 years in jail
- More than 40,000 grams – 2nd degree felony – at least 8 years in jail
Those are harsh penalties for a drug that many believe should be legalized at the federal level. Unfortunately, the consequences can be worse if you’re caught with a large supply of pot in your possession.
Aggravated Marijuana Charges in Ohio
If you’re caught selling, packaging, or offering pot to someone else, you could be facing charges of marijuana trafficking.
Here’s how the penalties for trafficking marijuana break down:
- Gifting 20 grams or less – a maximum fine of $150
- More than 20 grams, but less than 200 grams – 5th degree felony; possibly 1 year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines
- More than 200 grams, but less than 1 kilogram – 4th degree felony – up to 18 months in jail and up to $2,500 in fines
- More than 1 kilogram, but less than 5 kilograms – 3rd degree felony – up to 3 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines
- More than 5 kilograms, but less than 20 kilograms – 3rd degree felony – up to 3 years in jail and up to $15,000 in fines
- More than 20 kilograms, but less than 40 kilograms – 2nd degree felony – 5-8 years in jail
- More than 40 kilograms – 1st degree felony – 8 years in jail
You may also lose your driver’s license if you’re convicted of marijuana possession in Ohio. Depending on the amount of pot, your driver’s license could be suspended for as little as six months or up to five years.
Are Dabs a Felony in Ohio?
In recent years, different methods of ingesting marijuana have grown in popularity. Dabs, for example, are concentrated doses of marijuana, usually in the form of a wax or oil.
The confusing part legally stems from the fact that Ohio law doesn’t clearly define these new approaches. Because of that, possessing a dab could possibly be a felony.
Should I Go Ahead and Pay a Simple Fine for Possessing Just a Little Marijuana?
If you’re charged with possessing marijuana, and you are not required to make an appearance in court, it’s best to talk with your lawyer before paying the fine.
Even a minor misdemeanor can result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
So, before paying the fine, have a talk with your lawyer, who may be able to reduce the charge or have it dismissed altogether.
What Conditions Qualify for Medical Marijuana in Ohio?
Right now, 21 medical conditions qualify the patient to register as a medical marijuana patient in Ohio.
Those conditions include, among others:
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Traumatic brain injury, and
To be able to legally take medical marijuana, you’ll need to be examined by a certified physician. If approved, you’ll receive your card from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.
The Key Takeaway
If you’ve been charged with marijuana possession – even if it’s a misdemeanor – you definitely need to talk with a defense lawyer. There are often unforeseeable consequences, even if the penalty is just a fine.
Your lawyer will explain your legal options, so you can make a more informed decision.