Are you planning to visit Ohio in 2021?
Are you thinking to access marijuana within Ohio?
Then this ultimate guide is for you!
Doesn’t matter whether you are residing or planning a trip, you must have to be aware of the latest marijuana laws that are currently working in the state. As marijuana laws have been recently reformed in some counties, though, statewide recreational marijuana is illegal.
Therefore, this ultimate guide will make you aware of everything about cannabis in Ohio along with Dos and Don’ts regarding cannabis in the state.
So, should we begin?
Is Weed or Marijuana Legal in Ohio, In 2021?
This might be the very first question popping up in your mind while thinking about marijuana in Ohio. However, the state has only legalized the medical usage of cannabis in 2021 while recreational cannabis remains illegal in the state. That means no individual can get hands-on personal marijuana except patients. Even for the medically needy, the authorities have a regulated way, which we will be discussing later.
However, in 2021, only a small amount of personal cannabis possession is decriminalized which can lead to some monetary penalty. Though medical patients can legally access medical cannabis due to legalization in 2016. Well, the state’s legislative journey in history is quite interesting and with that said, Ohio was the sixth state to decriminalize marijuana initially in 1975.
Well, the state’s marijuana users have faced frequent legislative updates, even though personal marijuana users have to wait for more time to get it legally available. Even during the last five years, many different counties, cities have followed the marijuana reforms which ultimately have decriminalized some amount of cannabis. Therefore, you are recommended to confirm from the official authorities in your region as well.
In a nutshell, if you are visiting Ohio in 2021 then you cannot hope for using marijuana personally. Even though medical patients cannot access medical cannabis until they don’t get registered through the official portal. A step-by-step guide will be shared with you further:
A Brief History of the State Regarding Marijuana
Ohio state’s marijuana legislation is very long which stretches to during the 70s when the state took the first step towards decriminalization of marijuana. On August 22, 1975, James Rhodes, the Republican Governor signed a bill making Ohio the sixth state to decriminalize marijuana possession of up to 100g. Under this law, marijuana possession made under 100 grams will be a misdemeanor and it will be punishable with a maximum of $150 fine. While the subsequent possession can lead the offender to up to 30 days imprisonment and a $250 monetary fine.
Although since then the state didn’t make any further changes in marijuana legislation until 2013 when the state faced a spike in marijuana-related arrests. According to a report, around 17,000 arrests were made in that year for marijuana possession. Therefore, considering the demand, two years later, in 2015, a ballot measure was proposed to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.
This law would allow Ohio adults over age 21 to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and cultivate cannabis plants with a license, also, commercial-scale cultivation and sale of marijuana would be permitted through this legislation update. Unfortunately, this law was defeated on election day.
Apart from this, the state attempted to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio. This time, this legislative update got succeeded, fortunately. In June 2016, Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 523 to legalize the medical use of cannabis in Ohio. This medical marijuana law permitted the state’s medical patients to get medical cannabis from Michigan and then bring that back in Ohio according to the guideline until the state’s own regulation of cannabis medication doesn’t come into effect.
Along with medical marijuana, the state also approved SB 204 which ultimately enabled “Smoke a joint, lose your license” in the state. That means under this law, driving under the possession of marijuana or any other illegal drug will be punished by the mandatory suspension of a driver’s license.
Although the state authorities have made a rulemaking process for growing, testing, physician recommendation, certification, processors, and retail dispensaries of medical marijuana, which was supposed to be in action in the state from September 2018. Also, for obtaining medical cannabis in the region, lawmakers introduced several medical conditions initially such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, epilepsy, etc.
Well, the qualifying list of medical marijuana contained 21 medical conditions initially. Though the form of medical marijuana is limited to the edibles, oil, vapor, patch, and tincture only. Smoking remained prohibited under the law. After a complete process and regulated way, the state made the first licensed sale of cannabis on January 16, 2019.
Even though other cities and counties under the state made some marijuana reforms depanelizing some amount of marijuana possession.
Summing up the historic journey, you will get only access to medical cannabis in Ohio in 2021. Although a small amount of marijuana possession remains decriminalized, however, as recreational use is illegal in the state, therefore it prohibits using marijuana by an individual.
Possession, Cultivation, And Consumption
Recreational marijuana possession remains decriminalized and possession made under 100 grams will be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $150. Possession made more than the amount can lead to more harsh penalization.
Well, some other municipal reforms have also happened in some cities and counties. Such as Toledo has depanelized the possession of marijuana up to 200 grams whereas Columbus city has made up to 100 grams of marijuana possession a punishable offense with a $10 fine and up to 200 grams possession with a $25 fine. Similarly, some other states have also followed the marijuana law reforms.
Apart from this, medical patients are not specified that how much they can possess medical cannabis legally.
Cultivating cannabis plants in Ohio remains illegal either for medical usage or recreational usage. This may lead the offender as a drug trafficker for which the law has a huge penalty and imprisonment.
Public marijuana consumption is banned in Ohio. Also, consumption made in Schools, university campuses, public places such as parks, public transports remain restricted and penalties are there accordingly.
Apart from this, driving under the influence of marijuana in Ohio remains illegal and the offender can be fined up to $1,000 along with six months of suspension of the license.
So, overall, the state has strict guidelines for personal possession, cultivation, and consumption in the state.
Medical Cannabis Laws in Ohio
Medical cannabis in Ohio state was legalized in 2016 when the Governor signed House Bill 523. This made medical cannabis available in Ohio legally. This law imposed the complete regulation of selling, processing, and possessing medical marijuana from the initial stage of legalization, however, this would take some time.
That is why another guideline was issued in the state that permitted patients to go to Michigan or any other state where medical cannabis is legalized then legally acquire cannabis there and bring it back to Ohio for use. However, the state government could successfully make the first licensed sale of medical cannabis in 2019 after three years of legalization.
Apart from this, the government has also specified the qualifying medical symptoms for this program. Although physician’s recommendation and certification were needed to access medical cannabis in the state. In addition to that, a patient needs to get registered for the program and then get issued a card which would ultimately permit the patients to get medical cannabis.
Here are the qualifying symptoms and process to access cannabis through a card:
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
- Crohn’s disease
- Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
- Pain that is either of the following nature: (i) Chronic and severe; or (ii) Intractable
- Parkinson’s disease
- Positive status for HIV
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Hepatitis C
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Sickle cell anemia
- Spinal cord disease or injury
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Ulcerative colitis
How to get a medical marijuana card in Ohio?
So, once the patient gets diagnosed with any of the qualifying diseases, the patient needs to get registered for the state’s medical marijuana program, for which the process is as followed:
Step 1. First of all, the patient needs to get a physician’s certification and recommendation for the qualifying medical condition. This is the step that should be completed before applying further.
Step 2. Once the patient gets the written consent of the doctor, he or she can apply online for the medical marijuana card. For processing next, the patient needs to include the government-issued ID which can prove the state’s residency.
Step 3. Pay the annual registration fee of $50 and apply. Now, your application is submitted and once it gets approved, the patient will get an ID card issued.
So, within these three steps, one can access medical marijuana in Ohio after receiving the medical card. Additionally, the patient can be 18 years of age or even minor. However, in the case of a minor patient, the guardian or parent must be accompanied by the patient.
Keep in mind that while applying for this medical marijuana card in Ohio, the authorities don’t accept out-of-state cards and hence one needs to be a resident of the state to get this facility.
Some Important FAQs
- When does my Ohio marijuana card expire?
Once the patient gets a marijuana card issued, it will be valid for one year and it must be renewed before complete expiration.
- Can I grow my own cannabis plants in Ohio instead of getting medical cannabis?
No! Home cultivation of marijuana remains illegal in the state. For patients, the only source for accessing medical cannabis is the authorized dispensaries.
- Can I get smokable medical cannabis?
No! smokable cannabis form for medication is not permitted in the state, though, edibles, tinctures, patches, and oils are the permitted forms of medical marijuana.
- Where can I find the state-authorized dispensaries?
You can check out the state’s official health department website for getting complete info regarding licensed dispensaries.
- When will recreational weed be legalized in Ohio?
Future can’t be predicted, however, if the people of the region demanded the lawmakers to change the legislation for legalizing marijuana then definitely there could be something regarding this. However, until the government didn’t make any further steps for this, we have to stay under the current laws that are in action.
Future of Cannabis in Ohio
Well, right now, Ohio is permitting only medical use in its region and even the medical cannabis business is increasing. However, if the state legalizes recreational marijuana in the state within the upcoming time then it could generate multiple opportunities for marijuana enthusiasts. Also, new businesses will pop up there which would ultimately contribute to the state’s economic development through retail tax.
Although this is just hope and until the lawmakers didn’t take a step further, we cannot predict the future. Therefore, marijuana’s future in Ohio depends on the authorities that how they want to take it further.
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