Ohio medical marijuana law now in effect


Last update: September 9, 2016


The Ohio Legislature’s medical marijuana law went into effect on September 8, 2016, bringing important but limited new protections for patients. The date also kicks off the formal rule-making process for agencies involved in the program, followed by the roll out of the formal system in late 2017 or the following year. Only then will patients have safe, regulated access to medical cannabis and complete legal protections.

With the law now in effect, patients may qualify for a provision of the new law called the affirmative defense. While it does not provide access to medical marijuana, it does provide a legal defense to a citation for marijuana possession, if the patient meets several important requirements. Most notably, a patient must have a written statement from a physician. For a more detailed look at the affirmative defense, what it includes, and how it applies in Ohio, click here.

September 8 was the first step in a long process, and MPP and Ohioans for Medical Marijuana are watching that process closely. Many important policy decisions that will directly affect the success or failure of the system are yet to be made, so stay tuned as the process unfolds. Be sure to subscribe to our Ohio alerts for information and ways to make your voice heard on particular issues.

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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Pending Legislation