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What are the penalties for marijuana possession in Ohio?

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Answered by: Jon J. Saia

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In Ohio, it is a crime to intentionally or knowingly possess marijuana (except for persons authorized to possess medical marijuana). Like many other states, the penalties for possessing marijuana (sale, cultivation or possession of paraphernalia are not discussed in this article) depend on the amount of the drug possessed. Generally, possession penalties are as follows: 

  • Up to 100 grams: The Ohio legislature has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Violations in this range are minor misdemeanors, meaning that there is no jail time involved and convictions are not included on a person’s a criminal record. However, violators may be fined up to $150.
  • 100 to 200 grams: Possession of marijuana in this weight range carries a misdemeanor charge with fines up to $250 and up to 30 days of incarceration.
  • 200 to 1,000 grams: Possession of this amount and above is a felony charge. Violators face fines of up to $2,500 and 1 year in jail.
  • 1,000 to 20,000 grams: Penalties include fines of between $5,000 and $10,000 and up to five years in prison.
  • 20,000 to 40,000 grams: Penalties include a minimum of five years in prison (maximum of eight years) and between $7,500 and $15,000 in fines.
  • 40,000 grams or more: Violators may be fined between $10,000 and $20,000 and incarceration for a minimum of eight years. 

In addition to the above penalties, persons convicted of possessing more than 100 grams of marijuana face suspension of their drivers’ licenses for up to five years (minimum of six months). 

Medical marijuana

Like a growing number of states, Ohio has legalized the possession of medical marijuana. Accordingly, persons possessing marijuana in compliance with the requirements of Ohio’s medical marijuana laws, or the laws of another state (e.g. possessing an out-of-state medical marijuana card), may possess up to a 90-day supply of marijuana (the actual amount has not been defined) without fear of a possession conviction. 

However, Ohio’s medical marijuana laws offer no defense against charges for operating a vehicle while under the influence (OVI) of marijuana. This means that medical marijuana users can still be charged and convicted of OVI if caught driving while under the influence of their prescribed marijuana. 

If you are charged with marijuana possession, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help reduce the severity of the charges you face and help you obtain the best available outcome.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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