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Ohio Marijuana Laws: Possession, Sales/Distribution, Marijuana OVI

Updated: May 16, 2020

Despite the legalization of marijuana in Ohio for medical purposes, it is critical to understand that Ohio has not legalized the recreational use of marijuana. The medicinal use of cannabis is only allowed in Ohio by individuals with qualifying conditions. Ohio has, however, decriminalized marijuana to some degree – particularly when it comes to first- time possession of small amounts.

For example, possession of fewer than 100 grams of pot in Ohio is a minor misdemeanor that carries a $150 fine. Minor misdemeanors don’t create criminal records in Ohio, nor do they subject individuals to incarceration.

Although cannabis is decriminalized in certain circumstances, Ohio residents can still find themselves facing criminal charges related to marijuana. Examples of these crimes include:

Possession – Possession can still result in criminal charges, criminal records, and imprisonment in certain circumstances. Possessing 100 to 200 grams of marijuana, for instance, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250.

Possessing 200 to 1,000 grams is grounds for a felony, up to one year in jail, and a fine up to $2,500. It is important to note that in less serious cases involving a first offense, defendants can seek alternative or diversion sentencing, complete probation, and have the charge removed from their criminal record. Cultivation penalties mirror those associated with possession. However, possession of hash and concentrated cannabis, including wax, is grounds for more serious penalties.

Sales / Distribution – While a gift of 20 grams of marijuana or less is a minor misdemeanor, and a misdemeanor upon a second offense, sales of marijuana up to 200 grams is a felony. Penalties also increase when greater amounts of cannabis are involved.

Marijuana OVI – Ohio enforces strict standards when it comes to marijuana DUI, which means that any driver can be charged with the offense when they have any amount of marijuana in their system while operating a motor vehicle. This is an extremely grey area in the law right now, because marijuana remains in an individual’s system for some time after its use. So you could be pulled over for a marijuana OVI long after you have used marijuana, but it can still be in your system. The state must somehow show that the marijuana caused impairment. These treatment of this issue is rapidly changing, so understanding your rights in this regard is imperative.

There are 21 qualifying conditions—such as chronic pain or cancer—to obtain medical marijuana in Ohio. The only acceptable forms of medical marijuana include edibles, oils, patches, tinctures, vaping, and plant material.

Smoking and personally cultivating cannabis are against the law in the state of Ohio. Despite the fact that vaping entails using medical marijuana through combustion, it is permitted.

If you have any questions or concerns about the laws as they relate to marijuana, or if you have been charged with a Marijuana OVI, call the Law Offices of Kevin C. Cox for a consultation today.


Attorney Cox has been a successful criminal justice attorney and can help you navigate any issue you may have with experience and care. Our offices are located on Main Street in Coshocton County inside the Thompson Business Center. Kevin can also travel to Tuscarawas County, Belmont County, Guernsey County, Noble County, Carroll County, and Harrison County.

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