Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Ohio

  1. Ohio Cannabis
  2. Ohio Medical Marijuana Card
  3. Consequences of Having a MMJ Card in Ohio

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Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card in Ohio

Obtaining a medical marijuana card in Ohio comes with several benefits, including the following:

Legal Protection

Having a medical marijuana registration card in Ohio protects a person from prosecution for using or possessing cannabis within approved limits under state law. Currently, it is illegal to cultivate cannabis at home for medical use; the Ohio medical marijuana law does not protect medical marijuana cardholders from prosecution for growing their own marijuana. Patients who often travel with their medical cannabis in Ohio are always advised to carry their medical marijuana cards around to avoid arrest by law enforcement. The medical card is the only valid proof of registration with the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.

Until the sale of recreational cannabis begins in the state, the possession of marijuana under 100 grams without a medical marijuana card is a minor misdemeanor punishable by up to a $150 fine. Possessing more than 100 grams of cannabis in Ohio without a medical marijuana card could be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the quantity, and it is punishable by fines and/or jail sentences.

Lower Prices

Ohio medical marijuana cardholders will pay less for cannabis products than recreational consumers when the retail sale of adult-use marijuana starts in December 2023. Currently, medical cannabis purchase in the state is subject to a 5.75% sales tax and local sales tax ranging from 0.25% to 2.25%. As approved by Ohio voters in Issue 2, the retail sale of recreational marijuana products will be subject to a 10% tax in addition to the usual sales tax (5.75%).

Higher Purchase and/or Possession Limits

With an Ohio medical marijuana card, a person can purchase or possess more cannabis than the 2.5 ounces proposed for recreational consumers. Under the state's medical cannabis laws, a registered medical marijuana patient may possess or purchase up to a 90-day cannabis supply. Currently, Rule 3796:8-2-04 of the Ohio Administrative Code permits registered cannabis patients to purchase no less than a whole day unit per time. This translates to 254.7 grams (9 ounces) of plant material in a 90-day supply.

Access for Minors

Qualifying patients who are minors (under 18) with Ohio-issued medical cannabis cards can access medical marijuana legally in the state. However, a certified medical provider will only recommend cannabis treatment after obtaining the consent of a patient's parent or legal guardian. On the other hand, Issue 2 makes it illegal for minors to use or possess marijuana in Ohio.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Ohio

Despite its numerous benefits, getting an Ohio medical marijuana has certain disadvantages, including firearm prohibition, employment restriction, driving restriction, and other federal prohibitions:

Firearm Prohibition

In compliance with the Gun Control Act of 1968, it is illegal for a registered medical cannabis patient in Ohio to own or possess a firearm. Despite the provisions of the Second Amendment rights, having an Ohio medical marijuana card makes it unlawful to possess or own a gun under federal law. Besides, no state law protects the gun ownership rights of Ohio medical marijuana registration cardholders.

Cultivation Prohibited

The current medical marijuana laws in Ohio prohibit medical cannabis patients from cultivating their own marijuana at home. They may only purchase from state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. Under the recently voter-approved Issue 2, adults 21 years and older will be able to grow up to six marijuana plants (a maximum of 12 plants for a household) in Ohio beginning December 7, 2023.

Driving Restrictions

A medical marijuana cardholder in Ohio cannot apply for or own a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). While a medical card permits a patient to use cannabis for medicinal purposes legally, the card is not always a defense to driving impaired. Even if a person has a prescription for medical marijuana in the state, they could still face criminal charges for an OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence) of cannabis.

Per Section 4511.19(A)(1)(j) of the Ohio Revised Code, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle in the state with a prohibited level of marijuana or its metabolites in the driver's urine or blood. Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of medical cannabis in Ohio has several legal consequences, including mandatory jail term, fine, and/or driver's license suspension.

No Reciprocity

Currently, Ohio medical marijuana cards are only valid to purchase medical cannabis within the state. Medical marijuana registration cardholders in the state cannot use their cards in other states, as Ohio has no medical cannabis reciprocity agreement with any other American state.

Annual Renewal

An Ohio medical marijuana registration card is only valid for one year. Typically, it expires on the last day of the month it was issued by the State Board of Pharmacy (BOP). Most medical marijuana cardholders consider the annual renewal process inconvenient. They are required to visit their recommending physicians to obtain new written recommendations for the continued use of medical cannabis.

Although Ohio permits telehealth for recommending medical cannabis during medical marijuana card renewal (in compliance with ORC 4743.09), patients still pay between $150 and $250 as consultation fees. The exact cost is determined by the recommending medical provider. Additionally, they must pay the BOP a registration fee each time they renew their cards. Currently, Ohio medical marijuana patients and caregivers pay $50 and $25, respectively, to renew their cards yearly. Even patients who qualify for indigent or veteran status must pay registration renewal fees, although at a 50% discount.

Employment Restrictions

Per Section 37496.28 of the Ohio Revised Code, no employer is required to accommodate or permit an employee's use of medical marijuana. Medical marijuana patients in Ohio are not protected from workplace discrimination under state law. Employers are free to refuse to hire medical marijuana patients and make certain decisions against employees due to their use or possession of cannabis. Employees cannot commence a cause of action against their employers for taking adverse employment actions against them based on their status as medical marijuana users.

In Ohio, employers are not prohibited from establishing and enforcing drug-free workplace policies or drug testing policies. However, a patient's medical marijuana card will not show up during a background check if an employer decides to conduct one. The decision to hire a medical marijuana cardholder who failed an employer-mandated drug test in Ohio is totally at the discretion of that employer. Medical marijuana patients cannot work with federal agencies located in Ohio due to the federal restrictions on employment for medical marijuana patients.

Federal Prohibitions

Marijuana is still classified as a controlled drug under federal law, even if it is being used for medicinal purposes. As a result, federal employees are required to refrain from using marijuana because they are held to federal regulations. Ohio medical marijuana cardholders who apply for federal employment may not be successful. There is a possibility that their medical marijuana cards will show up on a background check conducted by federal employers. Any federal government employee in Ohio who obtains a medical marijuana card in the state risks losing their job if caught. It is illegal to possess or consume medical cannabis on federal property in Ohio, including federally subsidized housing.

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