As more states legalize recreational marijuana, you may run into issues when carrying the substance over state lines – from a state it is completely legal in, to a state it is still considered an illegal drug. It is important to understand the implications if law enforcement catches you with too much of the wrong plant in Ohio. Because Michigan has already legalized recreational amounts of the substance, carrying it into Ohio becomes a confusing issue that may be better to avoid until courts decide on additional legislation.
Mid-2019, the Governor signed Senate Bill 57 into effect, making it legal for Ohio farmers to cultivate and process industrial hemp if licensed, and for individuals to buy, sell, and process hemp or a hemp product. This specific plant looks just like marijuana but does not have enough THC to get you high. The catch is that labs now must implement a test to measure THC in samples, which could take some time. The City of Columbus dropped several misdemeanor marijuana possession cases when they realized testing would be an issue.
While you may possess medical marijuana if you have a license or a valid prescription, it is still illegal for anyone else and will result in a fine and jail time in many cases. Being convicted can impact your career and any professional license you maintain, as well as mortgages, student loans and scholarships. Here are the penalties for marijuana possession in Columbus:
- Under 100 grams: Can result in a $10 fine
- 100 – 200 grams: Misdemeanor and can result in a $25 fine
- 200 – 1,000 grams: Fifth-degree felony, which can include a $2,500 fine and six months to one year in jail
- 1,000 – 20,000 grams: Third- to second-degree felony, which can result in nine months to five years of prison time and fines of $5,000 to $10,000
- Over 40,000 grams: Second-degree felony, and you could spend eight years in prison
If you have been wrongly convicted or think your sentence is more severe than it should be, understand your rights in Ohio and collect as much evidence as you can to prove your case.