Election 2020: Four Ohio communities pass marijuana measures
Four Ohio municipalities voted to decrease penalties for misdemeanor marijuana possession in this year’s General Election. (Photo: Sue Ogrocki, AP)
Voters in four Ohio villages and townships approved marijuana decriminalization measures in the General Election, according to final, unofficial results.
Adena in Harrison and Jefferson counties and Glouster, Jacksonville and Trimble in Athens passed local ordinances lessening the penalties for misdemeanor marijuana possession of 200 grams or less to no jail time and the lowest fine allowed.
Ohio decriminalized marijuana in the 1970s with a law making possession of a small amount – less than 100 grams – a minor misdemeanor that carries no jail time but a fine. A bill pending in the Ohio House would extend that to 200 grams, or about 7 ounces.
The local measures decriminalize possession of 200 grams or less and marijuana paraphernalia, with no jail time or fines. The four communities have a combined population of about 3,300.
They join 18 other jurisdictions that have enacted decriminalization measures of varying degrees since 2015, either at the ballot box or by the city council. Those include large cities such as Cincinnati and Columbus, as well as Norwood near Cincinnati and Newark in central Ohio.
But not all measures have been embraced by local law enforcement. Norwood police instead cite possession under state law.
Activists had a longer list of local decrim measures in the works this year. But novel coronavirus pandemic-related event cancellations and stay-home orders made it difficult to collect the required number of signatures from voters to qualify for the ballot. A statewide recreational marijuana legalization measure was also in the works but stalled in March for the same reason.
Five states legalized marijuana for adult or medicinal use. South Dakota voters made history Tuesday by approving measures for both in the same election. Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota join 11 recreational marijuana states. Mississippi joined 34 states that have legalized medical marijuana.
The Ohio legislature legalized medical marijuana in 2016 and sales began in January 2019.The push to reduce penalties for marijuana possession in Ohio notched four wins on Tuesday.
Ohio Marijuana Laws
Updated July 2019
After a slew of unsuccessful attempts, the state of Ohio finally improved its marijuana policies in 2016 by passing comprehensive medical marijuana legislation. However, recreational marijuana continues to be illegal. Learn more about Ohio marijuana laws below.
Recreational Marijuana Laws in Ohio
Is marijuana legal in Ohio? No– recreational marijuana is currently illegal. The small bright spot in Ohio’s marijuana policy is that the possession of less than 100 grams in punishable as a minor misdemeanor and subject to only a $150 fine. In Ohio, minor misdemeanors do not become part of a person’s criminal record. Possession of greater quantities, however, is still a standard misdemeanor or felony, which can be punished by fines of $250 to $20,000, and 30 day to 8-year prison terms.
Additionally, in November 2016, voters in four Ohio cities — Newark, Bellaire, Logan and Roseville — passed a measure to eliminate all criminal penalties and remove driver’s license suspensions associated with the possession of less than 200 grams.
Medical Marijuana Laws in Ohio
Ohio became the 25th U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana after Gov. John Kasich House Bill 523 into law in June 2016. Under the law, patients with a recommendation from a Ohio-licensed doctor are allowed cannabis plant material, edibles, patches, oils and tinctures. The law, however, prohibits smokable marijuana products and home cultivation.
The law took effect September 6, 2016. However, the state is still in the process of setting up growers and dispensaries. Ohio’s medical marijuana patient registry opened on December 3, 2018. and cannabis should be available to purchase from dispensaries before February 1, 2019. Until then, lawmakers are allowing patients to travel to Michigan or other nearby legal states to purchase marijuana and carry it back across state lines.
The following conditions are approved for medical marijuana prescription in the state:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Epilepsy and other Seizures Disorders
- Hepatitis C
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Pain (Chronic, Severe or Intractable)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Spinal Cord Disease or Injury
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Ulcerative Colitis
CBD Hemp Oil in Ohio
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in Ohio
Ohio’s law prohibits cultivating marijuana plants for personal or medical use and it is punished as possession.
Hemp can be grown in Ohio by licensed growers. In July 2019, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill that decriminalized hemp and hemp CBD products, paving the way for the development of a new hemp industry in the state. Senate Bill 57 allows Ohio farmers and university researchers to grow hemp and also legalizes the sale of hemp CBD oil. The hemp program will be overseen by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Ohio is one of the first three states to have its hemp program approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The state plans to allow commercial cultivation for the first time in 2020.
Legal Status of Other U.S. States
Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.
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