Ohio Medical Marijuana Laws That Every Patient Must Know
Ohio is home to nearly 100,000 registered cannabis patients, and if you count yourself among them, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the major Ohio medical marijuana laws. Failure to do so can have serious consequences, including fines or even jail time. We’ve compiled some of the most essential information here, but please speak with an attorney if you have questions about how the laws impact you. The following points are just basic outlines and should not be interpreted as legal advice.
Federal Law Prohibits Gun Owners From Accessing Medical Marijuana
Gun owners are legally prohibited from possessing medical marijuana. Likewise, medical marijuana patients are prohibited from purchasing a gun. This law applies nationwide, but it’s important for Ohio residents to understand as many aren’t even aware that such a law exists.
Gun sales are regulated and tracked at the federal level by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Because the federal government also recognizes marijuana—including medical marijuana—as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance, gun dealers are prohibited from selling a firearm to anyone who uses cannabis.
As part of the federal background check, every prospective gun buyer must fill out a Firearms Transaction Records form, which asks (among other things), “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” If you answer “yes,” the dealer is prohibited from selling to you. If you answer “no” but you’re actually a medical marijuana user, you can face up to 5 years in prison for perjury.
According to the ATF, “Any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legalization authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”
If you own a gun or are considering purchasing a gun as a medical marijuana patient, speak to your legal representative to better understand your options and what’s at stake.
Your Employer Can Drug-Test or Terminate You for Using Medical Marijuana
Ohio has no legal protections in place for medical marijuana patients in the workplace. If your employer requires drug testing, you’re still required to comply. If your employer imposes disciplinary action because you test positive for THC, you may not have much legal recourse. Please be aware of this if you work for an organization where drug testing is commonplace.
In some states, employees have taken their employers to court after being disciplined or terminated for using medical marijuana. Some patients have argued that, because marijuana is used for medicinal purposes as recognized by the state, their usage constitutes a reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and is therefore protected. However, patients and their legal teams have had mixed results with this strategy. Speak to your attorney if you have any questions.
Ohio No Longer Requires In-Person Evaluations for Medical Marijuana
Every medical marijuana state requires prospective patients to obtain a physician’s recommendation. However, not all states require you to meet with the physician in person. Ohio is one of a handful of states in which patients are able to obtain their recommendation via telemedicine.
In a telemedicine evaluation, the physician reviews your medical records and then assesses you via video conference. If the physician determines that you have a qualifying condition and would benefit from medical cannabis, he or she will create a profile for you in the Ohio Patient & Caregiver Registry. From there, you just need to complete your registration and start purchasing medical marijuana.
Green Health Docs has licensed physicians in Ohio, and telemedicine evaluations are available. Patients can get their Ohio medical marijuana card online or give us a call at 1-877-242-0362.
Patients Are Limited to 8 Ounces in a 3-Month Period
Ohio imposes 90-day supply requirements. Patients are limited to 8 ounces of dried medical marijuana flower or the equivalent within any 3-month period. Your purchases are recorded and tracked as part of the state’s track-and-trace system, so every licensed dispensary can see how close you’re getting to your current limit.
The good news is that you can purchase the full amount at any time. Prior to COVID-19, the state would reduce your limit each day you didn’t purchase. So, for example, if you obtained your registration on January 1st but didn’t purchase anything until February 1st, you’d be limited to a 60-day supply since 30 days had already passed. This restriction is no longer in place.
You Cannot Grow Your Own Medical Marijuana in Ohio
One of the key Ohio medical marijuana laws has to do with the rights (or lack of) to grow cannabis plants at home. Because Ohio regulates the amount of cannabis you’re allowed to possess at one time, growing your own marijuana at home is strictly prohibited. Only licensed cultivation facilities are allowed to grow marijuana.
The penalties for marijuana cultivation are the same as the penalties for possession (without a medical marijuana card). Possession of less than 100 grams is a misdemeanor, carrying a possible $150 fine. Possession of 100 to 200 grams is a misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $250. Possession of more than 200 grams is a felony that can come with 1 to 8 years in jail depending on the volume.
Out-of-State Medical Marijuana Cards Are Not Accepted in Ohio
Ohio medical marijuana dispensaries are only open to Ohio patients. While about a dozen states practice reciprocity (whereby patients in one state can gain access to medical marijuana in a reciprocal state), Ohio does not yet have such a program in place.
If you have any additional questions about Ohio medical marijuana laws or about obtaining or using medical marijuana in Ohio, please feel free to contact us at Green Health Docs.