Ohio's medical cannabis program continues to see steady growth with possible expansions on the horizon
Last update: March 14, 2021
The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy is considering a rule change that would remove a cap on the number of dispensaries allowed in the state. The agency recently reported that more than 160,000 patients are registered in the state’s medical cannabis program.
In 2020, the State Medical Board of Ohio added cachexia (also known as wasting syndrome) to the list of approved conditions for medical cannabis. Advocates are making another attempt to add autism spectrum disorder to the list of qualifying conditions this year.
Aside from medical cannabis, there have been other developments in the effort to reform Ohio’s cannabis policies. Last year, the Ohio Senate passed a bill (24-5) to double the amount of cannabis considered a misdemeanor offense carrying no jail time from 100 to 200 grams. But ultimately, the bill died as a result of inaction at the end of 2020.
Also, in the 2020 Election, voters in four more Ohio cities approved cannabis decriminalization measures, joining 18 other municipalities in the state that have enacted similar initiatives.
For individuals who are not registered as a medical marijuana patients, 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.
In recent years, efforts to decriminalize marijuana possession at the local level in cities around Ohio have been met with success. During the 2020 Election, voters in four more Ohio cities approved cannabis decriminalization measures, joining 18 other municipalities in the state that have enacted similar initiatives. More and more Ohioans are ready for change and believe that marijuana should be legal for adults. They see that marijuana prohibition has failed and only undermines public health and safety. It’s time for Ohio to move forward, stop arresting people for marijuana, and adopt a sensible system of legalization.