Ohio Marijuana Laws
Updated July 2019
After a slew of unsuccessful attempts, the state of Ohio finally improved its marijuana policies in 2016 by passing comprehensive medical marijuana legislation. However, recreational marijuana continues to be illegal. Learn more about Ohio marijuana laws below.
Recreational Marijuana Laws in Ohio
Is marijuana legal in Ohio? No– recreational marijuana is currently illegal. The small bright spot in Ohio’s marijuana policy is that the possession of less than 100 grams in punishable as a minor misdemeanor and subject to only a $150 fine. In Ohio, minor misdemeanors do not become part of a person’s criminal record. Possession of greater quantities, however, is still a standard misdemeanor or felony, which can be punished by fines of $250 to $20,000, and 30 day to 8-year prison terms.
Additionally, in November 2016, voters in four Ohio cities — Newark, Bellaire, Logan and Roseville — passed a measure to eliminate all criminal penalties and remove driver’s license suspensions associated with the possession of less than 200 grams.
Medical Marijuana Laws in Ohio
Ohio became the 25th U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana after Gov. John Kasich House Bill 523 into law in June 2016. Under the law, patients with a recommendation from a Ohio-licensed doctor are allowed cannabis plant material, edibles, patches, oils and tinctures. The law, however, prohibits smokable marijuana products and home cultivation.
The law took effect September 6, 2016. However, the state is still in the process of setting up growers and dispensaries. Ohio’s medical marijuana patient registry opened on December 3, 2018. and cannabis should be available to purchase from dispensaries before February 1, 2019. Until then, lawmakers are allowing patients to travel to Michigan or other nearby legal states to purchase marijuana and carry it back across state lines.
The following conditions are approved for medical marijuana prescription in the state:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Epilepsy and other Seizures Disorders
- Hepatitis C
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Pain (Chronic, Severe or Intractable)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Spinal Cord Disease or Injury
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Ulcerative Colitis
CBD Hemp Oil in Ohio
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in Ohio
Ohio’s law prohibits cultivating marijuana plants for personal or medical use and it is punished as possession.
Hemp can be grown in Ohio by licensed growers. In July 2019, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill that decriminalized hemp and hemp CBD products, paving the way for the development of a new hemp industry in the state. Senate Bill 57 allows Ohio farmers and university researchers to grow hemp and also legalizes the sale of hemp CBD oil. The hemp program will be overseen by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Ohio is one of the first three states to have its hemp program approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The state plans to allow commercial cultivation for the first time in 2020.
Legal Status of Other U.S. States
Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.
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Ohio Accepting New Qualifying Conditions for Medical Cannabis Patients
Ohio is currently accepting new petitions for qualifying conditions. New medical cannabis patients will be able to receive treatment, as long as their qualifying conditions are approved per the state’s regulations.
The petitions will go through and be analyzed by the State Medical Board of Ohio as part of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. This process is required by law in Ohio, where patients are encouraged to directly advocate for the type of cannabis care they need. Petitions are then evaluated, and new cannabis conditions that were approved are added to the state’s list.
Petitions will be accepted through the last day of the year, so there is still time for interested candidates to apply and try to get their conditions added.
However, there are some rules in place when it comes to what conditions can be added to the state’s list of approved medical reasons to use cannabis. Those seeking to add broad categories or conditions won’t be successful; conditions must be specific. In other words, no attempting to add in “general pain” or “nausea.” If it is a condition that has been previously rejected, there must be new science to support it that will be reviewed this time around. The Board even provides a list of previously-submitted and reviewed scientific studies to ensure they won’t be resubmitted and that only new research will be looked at.
Current Qualifying Conditions
Currently, AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, are all qualifying conditions in Ohio. Also on the list of conditions that can be treated with cannabis are Parkinson’s disease, positive status for HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis.
Already added this year is cachexia, also known as wasting syndrome, which is related to chronic conditions like HIV, cancer, and AIDS. However, many were upset that autism was rejected from the list and did not make the cut. Currently, anxiety and autism are both still not approved conditions, despite past attempts by advocates to get them approved, and will not be considered unless there is new, as-yet-unstudied research.
Ohio has had medical cannabis since 2016, and takes a unique approach to its medical cannabis system and the way patients are chosen and medicine is dolled out. Their system of cannabis sales is more similar to pharmacies than to the dispensaries located in other states. Essentially, there is an allowed amount of cannabis that can be gotten at a time, must like a prescription. Additionally, they allow patients to petition directly for medical cannabis conditions.
While there is no guarantee that conditions will be approved, and more controversial conditions like anxiety and autism could still be left off if there is not enough new, supporting science, this is a chance for patients in Ohio to make their voices heard.
Petitions for new qualifying conditions for the state's medical cannabis program will be accepted until the end of the year.