In September of 2016, Ohio passed a comprehensive medical marijuana law. As noted by the Cleveland Clinic, the law created a program, which finally became fully operational in early 2019, that allowed eligible patients to obtain small amounts of medical marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries.
At The VanNoy Firm, our dedicated Dayton criminal defense attorneys have experience handling marijuana possession charge cases. Here, we highlight the most important things that you need to know about how Ohio’s new medical marijuana program affects the state’s drug possession laws.
First and foremost, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP) is only available for qualifying patients. You will not automatically qualify for medical marijuana. To get a compassionate use marijuana card in Ohio, a person must see a licensed physician and must be diagnosed with an approved medical condition. Once a physician approves a patient for a medical marijuana card, he or she will be permitted to purchase a small amount of marijuana from an approved dispensary.
Not only do all medical marijuana purchases go through one of the state’s officially licensed dispensaries, but these sales are also carefully tracked by Ohio public health officials. As required by state law, patients are limited to a ‘90-day supply.’ Supply is defined based on the THC level of marijuana. A qualified individual may obtain up to eight ounces of marijuana with a THC level below 23%. However, they may only obtain a maximum of 5.3 ounces of the THC level is above 23%.
Under Ohio Law (R.C. § 2925.11), medical approval has become an affirmative defense to marijuana possession charges. An affirmative defense is one that, when proven by the defendant, mitigates the underlying charge. If you obtained marijuana through a licensed dispensary after being approved for use, you have every right to possess the controlled substance. If you are wrongfully arrested for unlawful drug possession by Ohio police, you can raise an affirmative defense — proving that you are a qualified individual under the state’s medical marijuana law.
We are here to help. At The VanNoy Firm, our Ohio criminal defense lawyers have the skills and experience to handle the full range of drug possession cases, including marijuana possession charges. If you were arrested for marijuana possession in Ohio, please do not hesitate to contact us for immediate legal guidance. With an office in Dayton, we serve communities throughout the region, including in Montgomery County, Greene County, Butler County, and Warren County.
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