Marijuana laws and regulations differ state by state, making it difficult to know when, where and how to get high without running into legal troubles.
While each state has its own restrictions and policies, recreational marijuana in some form is now legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
As of right now, recreational marijuana is illegal in Ohio. Some are trying to change that.
In preparation of 4/20 this Saturday, the Independent Collegian reviewed marijuana laws in Ohio. What is legal? What is not? What may be legal soon?
For historical context, until the 1930s, marijuana was legal in the United States. However, that changed with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. While the bill did not technically ban possession or usage of marijuana, it did provide strict procedures for cannabis and hemp growers to adhere to.
While the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was later deemed unconstitutional, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified marijuana a Schedule I drug. This effectively banned its use in the United States.
Marijuana would remain illegal until 1996 when California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Later in 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana.
In 2016, the Ohio state legislature legalized marijuana for medical use.
Over the past few years, the state of Ohio has been working out the process on how to introduce medical marijuana. Now in early 2019, as most of the kinks are being worked out, some of the state’s first medical marijuana dispensaries are starting to open their doors.
However, acquiring medical marijuana is not as simple as walking into the dispensary and buying it. There are multiple requirements and laws to keep in mind.
First, the patient needs to have at least one of 21 ailments that the state of Ohio has recognized marijuana as a treatment. These include but are not limited to AIDS, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, hepatitis C, chronic or severe pain, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
If the patient has any of the 21 conditions, he or she can then request a recommendation from a state-certified doctor for medical marijuana.
As soon as someone has the recommendation from a doctor, the individual can send a $50 fee to the state of Ohio, where he or she will be placed into a registry and mailed a medical marijuana card.
Even after the patient has a medical marijuana card, there is still a list of regulations one must follow and some important information to keep in mind.
Just because someone has a medical marijuana card does not mean he or she can go out and start smoking a blunt.
Currently in the state of Ohio, it is not legal to smoke medical marijuana or grow it at home. In Ohio, medical marijuana must be in vapor form, oils, edibles, tinctures or patches.
Additionally, it is illegal to be under the influence of marijuana while operating a motor vehicle. Even without a blood or urine test, police can charge a person with a DUI if they witness the driver acting in an impaired manner.
Lastly, regardless of a person possessing a medical marijuana card, an individual’s employer still has the right to fire or discipline employees if they test positive for marijuana.
As of right now, there are no medical marijuana dispensaries operating inside the city of Toledo. The state has granted permission for one dispensary to open on Sylvania Ave., but it is still unclear if or when that will happen.
In the meantime, it is uncertain if Ohio will be one of the next states to legalize recreational marijuana. While multiple groups are pushing for its legalization there are no formal plans for it to be brought to a vote.