Let’s celebrate!! Marijuana is legal in Ohio! Let’s everyone go out and smoke a doobie! Well, before going loco, there are quite a few things to know before lighting that roach or your next call may be to a local criminal defense attorney.
House Bill 523 was signed by Ohio governor John Kasich on June 8, 2016 and went into effect on September 8, 2016. The bill allowed the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
The first step to being able to use marijuana in Ohio is to get a recommendation from a physician. A patient must have a qualifying medical condition to receive a recommendation. Qualifying medical conditions include Aids, Alzheimer’s, ALS, cancer, and many others as listed by the state medical board. In Ohio, a physician can recommend a 90-day supply of medical marijuana with up to three refills. A patient receiving this recommendation must visit the certified physician at least once per year. The physician will have access to the Patient Registry and will submit the recommendation directly to the registry.
Once a certified physician enters a patient’s information into the registry, the patient will receive an email to log in to the registry and pay the fee. The annual cost of the registration is $50 for patients. Only those patients that have an active registry card with an active recommendation may purchase medical marijuana. Patients must also have a government issued ID.
Final step, go out to the street corner and hit up that street corner seller?? Not unless you want to be on the phone with that criminal law attorney again. Patients can only purchase medical marijuana from an Ohio dispensary licensed by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy. There are licensed dispensaries in Lake County Ohio. Locations of dispensaries can be found at https://www.medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/DispensaryLocations. Currently, there are 56 provisional licenses for dispensaries and 40 of those provisional licensees have received a certificate of operation.
Registered users will be protected from arrest and prosecution if all laws are followed when obtaining the marijuana, however, these protections do not take effect until the patient receives a registration card.
It’s important to note that it is not a prescription, but a recommendation. Therefore, anyone on probation, parole, or under bond conditions may be in violation of the terms of probation, parole or bond by using marijuana even if recommended by a physician.
It’s also important to remember that nothing in the law prohibits an employer from establishing policies on marijuana use. Employers are still able to establish and enforce a drug-testing policy, drug-free workplace policy or any zero-tolerance drug policy. Receiving a recommendation from a physician will not negate these employment policies. Be sure to check workplace policies prior to using medical marijuana as employers may still terminate or impose other adverse actions against an employee for violations of any drug policies. Anyone terminated from employment for violating these employee policies will most likely be ineligible for unemployment compensation. Additionally, if there is any injury on the job, an employee may be ineligible for workers’ compensation if an employee was under the influence of marijuana and being under the influence was the proximate cause of the injury. This is true even if the marijuana use was recommended by a physician.
If you find yourself with a criminal charge for marijuana use or possession, be sure to contact the Bangerter Law Office.