Cleveland Marijuana Lawyer
Although some cities in Ohio are decriminalizing marijuana possession in small amounts, including Cleveland, there are still marijuana crimes that can result in significant consequences. If you or a loved one are arrested or charged with a crime, you should immediately seek the help of a Cleveland marijuana lawyer. You should not deal with the legal process on your own. Call us today at (216) 533-9533 or use our online contact form for a confidential consultation.
Marijuana Laws in Ohio
Marijuana is technically considered a controlled substance in the US, and is illegal to use or possess. The US federal government has left oversight of the drug to the states, however, and more states each year are decriminalizing the use of marijuana, even opening their doors to the sale and use of recreational weed.
Cannabis for recreational use in Ohio is still illegal, though it has been decriminalized when in possession of less than 200 grams. However, you can still face misdemeanor charges, and if you’re found in possession of more than 200 grams of marijuana, you could face felony charges. In 2016, the FBI reported 17,714 arrests for marijuana possession in Ohio.
In 2016, Ohio legislation passed House Bill 523 which made medical marijuana legal and established guidelines to govern the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OOMCP), and in 2019, Cleveland opened its first medical marijuana dispensary. However, obtaining a medical marijuana card is limited to those suffering specific ailments approved by the OOMCP.
In addition, laws and penalties for possession of marijuana can be murky and inconsistent, which makes it difficult to navigate the legal system in Ohio if you’re found to be in possession of marijuana. Ohio state law does not provide a defense for those who operate moving vehicles while under the influence. If you use legal, medical marijuana and drive, you can still be convicted of an OVI (operating under the influence).
Recently, in January 2020, the Cleveland city council passed legislation to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession. However, you can still be charged for growing, sellling, and transporting it, especially across state lines.
Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Ohio
The city of Cleveland had decriminalized possession of up to 200 grams of marijuana, or 7 ounces.
However, you will still face penalties in other Ohio cities that have not decriminalized the drug. If you are found in possession of weed up to 100 grams in Ohio without a medical marijuana card, or if you’re found giving 20 grams or less of marijuana to another person or growing less than 100 grams of marijuana, you could be convicted of a “minor misdemeanor” and face a fine of up to $150 and have your license suspended for six months.
If you are found in possession of more than 100 grams and less than 200 grams, that is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $250 penalty.
If you’re found in possession of 200 – 1,000 grams of marijuana, this is considered a felony, and is punishable by up to a year in jail as well as up to $2,500 in fines.
If you possess in excess of 1,000 grams of marijuana, the felony penalities increase.
Penalties for Marijuana Sale/Distribution/Trafficking
If you are convicted of marijuana sale, distribution, or trafficking, you may face even more severe penalties according to the amount of drug.
If you gift 20 grams or less in a first offense, then you may face a misdemeanor charge with no jail time and a fine of $150. However, if it’s a second offense, you may face up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $500.
If you have between 200 grams and 40,000 grams in your possession and you’re convicted of selling, distributing, or trafficking, then you will face a felony and up to 8 years in prison. Fines can be between $2,500 and $20,000.
Medical Marijuana in Ohio
In 2016, Ohio legislation passed House Bill 523 which made medical marijuana legal and established guidelines to govern the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OOMCP).
In summer of 2019, Cleveland opened its first medical marijuana dispensary. However, the regulation of medical weed in Ohio is restrictive, and obtaining a medical marijuana card is limited to those suffering specific ailments approved by the OOMCP.
Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card in Cleveland
To obtain a medical marijuana card in Cleveland, you must get a doctor’s referral to add you to the Ohio state registry – the doctor cannot prescribe marijuana outright. Once added to the registry, you can apply for a card at a local dispensary.
Even with a medical marijuana card, however, the Ohio state limit for possession is 100 grams, and there are limits for how much you can purchase within 90 days. State law prohibits smoking medical marijuana: it must be inhaled through a vaporizer or imbibed via edibles, oils, tinctures, or patches.
The following diagnoses qualify Ohio residents to apply for a medical marijuana card:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Epilepsy (seizures)
- Tourette Syndrome
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Chronic Pain
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
- Hepatitis C
- Ulcerative Colitis
What to Do If You’re Charged With a Marijuana Crime in Ohio
Even if you are arrested for basic marijuana possession, law enforcement may attempt to find additional evidence of intent to distribute or sell. Possession with intent to sell – often indicated by larger amounts of marijuana in your possession can be considered a felony and this carries much harsher penalties if you are convicted.