The state of Ohio permits the use of medical marijuana since Bill 523 was signed into law last May 10, 2016. Ohio, however, does not allow the recreational use of marijuana and has decriminalized possession of 100 grams or less of marijuana within the state.
Medical Marijuana Laws of Ohio
The pivotal point in the fight to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio happened when on May 10, 2016, House Bill 523 was unanimously approved by the House, and subsequently passed by the Senate fifteen days after. Ohio Governor John Kasich then signed the bill on the 8th of June 2016 and its effectivity was set on September 2016.
The law allowed for the medical use of marijuana for qualifying patients who have debilitating medical conditions as indicated under the bill, and it also directed the establishment of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. Under this law, physicians who want to participate in this program would be required to get a license from the State Medical Board of Ohio before they can qualify for evaluating patients. The House Bill 523 also allows qualifying patients to get their supply of marijuana for 90 days.
Drug Possession Laws of Ohio
Ohio has decriminalized the possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana, but any possession of marijuana which is more than that is punishable with up to 30 days of imprisonment and fine of $250. There was a decriminalization initiative that was included in the ballots of 2016 election, and it was about Issue 3 that would supposedly legalize recreational use of marijuana by persons of 21 years of age or above. This initiative was turned down by the majority of 2016 voters. Hence, at present, possession, use, and distribution of marijuana within the state are still illegal, save for the medical use of marijuana. Here are the accompanying punishments and penalties for the violations of any of the marijuana laws of the state:
- If you are caught with less than 100 grams of marijuana, you will be slapped with a minor misdemeanor, punishable by a $150 fine.
- If you are caught with 100 to 200 grams, you will be charged with a misdemeanor, up to 30 days imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $250.
- If you are caught with 200 to 1,000 grams, you will be charged with a felony, up to a year of imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $2,500.
- If you are caught with 1,000 to 20,000 grams, you will be charged with a third-degree felony, 1 to 5 years of imprisonment, and fines of $5,000 to $10,000.
- If you are caught with 20,000 to 40,000 grams, you will be charged with a second-degree felony, 5 to 8 years of imprisonment, and up to $15,000 fine.
- If you are caught with more than 40,000 grams, you will be charged with a second-degree felony, with at least 8 years of incarceration, and up to $20,000 fine.
The sale or distribution of marijuana has the following punishments and penalties:
- If you gift 20 grams or less of marijuana, you will be slapped with a minor misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $150. A second offense of this nature means crime, with maximum imprisonment of up to 60 days, and a maximum penalty of $500.
- If you are caught selling 200 grams, you will be charged with felony, maximum imprisonment of 12 months, and fine of up to $2,500.
- If you are caught selling 200 grams to 1,000 grams, you will be charged with fourth-degree felony, maximum imprisonment of 18 months, and fine of up to $2,500.
- If you are caught selling 1,000 to 20,000 grams, you will be charged with a third-degree felony, 1 to 5 years of imprisonment, and fine of up to $10,000.
- If you are caught selling 20,00 to 40,000 grams, you will be charged with second-degree felony, maximum imprisonment of 12 months, and fine of up to $2,500.
- If you are caught selling more than 40,000 grams, you will be charged with a second-degree felony, 8 years mandatory imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $20,000.
If you are caught selling to a minor or within one thousand feet of a school or 100 feet of a juvenile, or if you had a previous drug conviction, you will be charged with a felony and additional concomitant penalties.
Can Employers Require their Applicants and Employees to Undergo Drug Tests?
Drug tests in the workplace are not prohibited in Ohio; in fact, employers are encouraged to conduct drug tests to ensure that work is a safe place to work in. However, drug testing on applicants should be done according to the statutory requirements of federal law and the state:
- Employers can require their applicants to undergo drug tests, provided the applicants are given advanced notice to the applicant. Moreover, applicants that are offered conditional job employment may be required to take drug tests.
- If there is a reasonable suspicion of substance abuse, employers can require an employee to undergo a drug test.
- If there is an accident that caused injury, damage to properties, and death in the workplace, employees can be randomly tested within a specified time.
- Employers are required to shoulder the costs of drug tests or confirmatory tests.
- Confirmatory tests should be provided those employees who tested positive.
- The only licensed laboratory should conduct drug tests.
- Tampering on the test results is punishable by the law.