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Learn About Marijuana In Ohio
Frequently Asked Questions About Marijuana in Ohio
Nestled in the American midwest, Ohio sits along the shore of Lake Erie and the edge of the Appalachian mountains, providing a diverse interior landscape. Over the years, Ohioans - now over 11.5 million in number - have built a robust economy and, in 2018, Ohio will join the other U.S. states who have an operational legal marijuana industry.
Is Marijuana Legal in Ohio?
The “Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program” allows individuals with diseases or conditions severely limiting their quality of life to use medical marijuana.
When Did Marijuana Become Legal in Ohio?
House Bill 523 was passed by Ohio lawmakers in September of 2016.
Where Are Dispensaries in Ohio Located?
The Ohio State Board of Pharmacy and the Department of Commerce are responsible for creating the rules supporting the licensing of laboratories, dispensaries, cultivation sites, patient and caregiver registration, physician requirements and registration, and product manufacturing facilities.
According to the program timeline, by September 2018, dispensaries are expected to be fully-operational and capable of serving patients. As of August 2018, dispensaries have not yet opened.
Are They Medical Dispensaries? Recreational?
As of August 2018, only medical marijuana sales are legally permitted in Ohio.
Who Can Be a Medical Patient in Ohio?
A local physician must assess your medical history, perform a physical assessment in person, and then diagnose one of the following conditions or illnesses:
- HIV or AIDS
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
- Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
- Hepatitis C
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Chronic pain - severe or intractable
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sickle cell anemia
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord disease or injury
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- Ulcerative colitis
To add conditions or diseases, a petition may be submitted for review by the Ohio Board of Medicine.
How Do I Become a Medical Marijuana Patient in Ohio?
After being certified by a physician (an M.D. or D.O.) as having one of the debilitating diseases or conditions listed above, the patient will have to register with the state Board of Pharmacy.
While the final licensing rules and application processes have yet to be determined, the Board of Pharmacy has drafted a $50 annual application fee for patients and a $25 annual application fee for registered caregivers.
Where Can Medical Marijuana Be Consumed in Ohio?
Though marijuana flower may be legally purchased by patients, it cannot be smoked. Under Ohio law, marijuana can be consumed only in oils, tinctures, edibles, patches, and through non-combustion means, such as vaporization of plant form.
While the laws governing patient use are still being written, the HB 523, the bill which became the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, does not “require any public place to accommodate a registered patient's use of medical marijuana [or] prohibit any public place from accommodating a registered patient's use of medical marijuana.”
How Do I Get a Job in the Ohio Medical Marijuana Industry?
Ohio has not finalized rules for registering employees to work at dispensaries just yet, though, according to the draft rules, a person will be required to submit their fingerprints for a background check and will be issued an associate key badge from the Board of Pharmacy. The fees and exact processes have not been determined at this time.
Is Drug Testing for Marijuana Legal in Ohio?
Employers do not have to allow employees to use medical marijuana, and they can drug test an employee over concerns with workplace performance or safety. Ohio is not required to provide workers compensation to medical marijuana patients while marijuana remains a Schedule I narcotic on the federal level, nor are employers prohibited from maintaining zero-tolerance policies, as long as they are not discriminatory.
Is Delivery of Marijuana Legal in Ohio?
As of August 2018, cannabis delivery is to be done between caregiver and patient or from a producer to a dispensary. Patients cannot have medical marijuana delivered from a dispensary to their home.
How Can I Pay for Marijuana in Ohio Dispensaries?
Though dispensaries have not opened, banking is an issue for legal marijuana markets across the United States. As a result, the billion-dollar industry continues to run on predominantly cash, though sometimes debit card sales are also seen.
Ohio Marijuana Laws
Adopted in September of 2016, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program was passed by lawmakers rather than placed on the state ballot. The medical marijuana program in Ohio is being coordinated by three separate governmental agencies:
- The Ohio Department of Commerce - responsible for the licensing and oversight of growers, product manufacturers (such as an edible producer), and testing laboratories.
- The Ohio Board of Pharmacy - Patients, caregivers, and retail dispensary locations are all to be overseen by the Board of Pharmacy. Additionally, the Board of Pharmacy may approve other product forms (such as edibles, oils, topicals, etc…) as necessary.
- The Ohio Board of Medicine - This administrative limb of the program will create and administer a licensing program for physicians. Additionally, the Board of Medicine will have the authority to add conditions if adequate therapeutic evidence exists.
In September 2017, program authorities released the program for all businesses directly involved with cannabis. This includes physicians, patients, growers, processors, lab testing, and dispensary locations.
Under current law, September 1, 2018 is the day the industry is required to be operational and making licensed sales to registered patients.
Until a patient has been registered in the state database, proving they are a valid medical patient in possession of marijuana, they are not protected from the penalties of current Ohio law.
Purchase and Possession Limits
Patients or their caregiver may purchase and possess a total amount of medical marijuana to treat a patient for 90 days. Under the program, marijuana flower is divided into two tiers. Tier 1 refers to marijuana at or below 23 percent THC and tier 2 refers to marijuana with 24 percent, but not higher than 35 percent THC.
Every 90-day period, a person may purchase up to six ounces of tier 1 marijuana and up to four ounces of tier 2.
As of August 2018, The Ohio Board of Pharmacy currently has purchase and possession limits organized by the total quantity of cannabinoids - specifically THC - available in the final product. For medical marijuana in plant form, Ohio has proposed two tiers based on THC concentration:
- Tier 1 would mean marijuana testing at or below 23 percent THC.
- Tier 2 would mean marijuana testing above 23 percent but not more than 35 percent.
Under the program rules, patients are able to purchase:
- As much as 8 ounces of Tier 1 marijuana every 90 days
- Up to 5 ounces of tier 2 marijuana every 90 days
- Up to 26.055 g of THC in patches every 90 days
- Up to 9.9 grams of THC in oil, tincture, capsule, or edibles every 90 days
- Up to 53.1 grams of THC content in oil for vaporization every 90 days
Growing Marijuana at Home
Under the current marijuana laws in Ohio, only licensed producers may grow marijuana. Any person caught in possession of marijuana plants will be criminally prosecuted based on the total weight of marijuana available from the plant(s).
If the amount is above 200 grams, the person may face felony criminal charges, one-year imprisonment, and fines up to $2,500.
Marijuana and Driving
Driving While Intoxicated
Driving while under the influence of marijuana has not changed since medical marijuana became legal. The program specifically prohibits registered patients from operating any of the following while under the influence of marijuana:
- A vehicle
- A streetcar
- Trolley without a track
In general, avoid using any vehicle while intoxicated. Ohio has defined the following limits when identifying marijuana intoxication while driving:
- Marijuana metabolite
- In blood - 50 nanograms per milliliter
- In urine - 35 nanograms per milliliter
- Marijuana (THC)
- In blood - 2 nanograms per milliliter
- In urine - 10 nanograms per milliliter
Any person caught driving above these limits may be imprisoned for as much as six months, face license suspension for up to three years, pay fines up to $1,075, and have misdemeanor charges added to your record.
Driving While in Possession of Marijuana
Patients are not permitted to use medical marijuana in a vehicle, but transporting products in the original packaging in a secure location in the car is within a patient or caregivers’ rights.
If physicians begin to certify patients in the use of medical marijuana prior to dispensary locations opening their doors, patients may still invoke an affirmative defense to ward off conviction.
Anyone caught driving a vehicle while in possession of marijuana is subject to possession charges, which include fines up to $150 for the first offense.
Marijuana and Minors
A minor may be registered to the program by their parent or legal guardian. The parent or legal guardian must consent in writing to the treatment, register as the caregiver for the minor and have a thorough discussion about the risks and possible outcomes of the treatment with a qualifying physician.
Unless a minor under the age of 18 is a patient registered in the Medical Marijuana Control Program, any child caught with marijuana is subject to misdemeanor criminal charges, including a $150 fine for first offenses.
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