Legislature stalls on state marijuana laws; marijuana initiative on November ballot


Last update: September 21, 2015


Despite strong support for marijuana policy reform among Ohio’s residents, the Ohio Legislature shows no sign it is interested in ending marijuana prohibition or even crafting a workable medical marijuana program for seriously ill patients. This year, the only reform bill presented would allow very limited access to cannabidiol (CBD) — which is one of the dozens of cannabinoids in marijuana. The bill has failed to advance since it was presented in February, and even if it passed, it largely fails to authorize any cultivation.

On November 3, voters will have the opportunity to directly decide marijuana policies for their state. Issue 3, sponsored by Responsible Ohio, would allow adults who are 21 and older to use, possess, purchase, grow (with a $50 license), and share a limited amount of marijuana or marijuana products. Seriously ill patients of any age could register to obtain marijuana from non-profit dispensaries. Issue 3 would authorize the owners of 10 specific parcels of land to commercially cultivate marijuana and would allow significant numbers of retailers and product manufacturers, which would be subject to regulation and taxation. More details about the measure are available here. We encourage residents to carefully consider the measure and be sure to vote this November!

Marijuana laws in Ohio


Possession of less than 100 grams (or about 3.5 ounces), giving 20 grams or less of marijuana to another person, or growing less than 100 grams of marijuana are each considered  “minor misdemeanors,” punishable by a maximum fine of $150. A minor misdemeanor is not a “jailable” offense, but a person’s driver’s license can be suspended for a period ranging from six months to five years.

While Ohio’s marijuana penalties are less draconian than its neighbors, law enforcement officers are still wasting valuable time and resources. In 2012, Ohio officers arrested or cited 14,374 people for marijuana-related offenses, 94% of which were for possession only. At the same time, 91.6% of all reported burglaries — including home invasions — and 90% of all motor vehicle thefts went unsolved. Let your legislators know it’s time law enforcement stopped wasting time punishing adults for choosing a safer alternative to alcohol.

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