Marijuana cultivation for medical purposes is legal in Hamilton County. The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program Act permits the cultivation of marijuana in the state. However, the Act prohibits the cultivation of marijuana in residences for personal uses. The cultivation of marijuana for recreational purposes is also prohibited in the state.
In Ohio, there are two medical marijuana cultivation license types:
Hamilton County has no ordinance permitting or prohibiting the cultivation of marijuana within its jurisdiction. The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program Act applies in the county. The Ohio Department of Commerce, through the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP), is authorized to determine the number of cultivator licenses to be issued based on the number of registered medical marijuana patients. The MMCP scores applications for medical marijuana cultivation and awards the available licenses to applicants with the highest scores. A list of all the licensed cultivators provided by the MMCP shows that there are no licensed marijuana cultivators in Hamilton County. The MMCP is currently not accepting new applications for marijuana cultivator licenses.
Manufacturing of cannabis products for medical uses is legal in Hamilton County. The Medical Marijuana Control Program Act permits the licensing of marijuana processors to manufacture marijuana products. The county does not have any local requirement for marijuana processors aside from the state medical marijuana law. A list of licensed processors provided by MMCP shows no licensed processors in Hamilton County. The MMCP is currently not accepting new applications for medical marijuana processor licenses. Manufacturing marijuana products intended for recreational use is illegal in Hamilton County.
Cannabis sales are legal for licensed dispensaries in the county. Dispensaries are licensed by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy through the MMCP. Only medical marijuana patients and their caregivers can buy marijuana from these dispensaries. A medical marijuana patient or caregiver must present a valid medical marijuana ID card, an active physician recommendation, and a valid government-issued ID card when purchasing medical marijuana from a dispensary. A list of licensed marijuana dispensaries provided by the MMCP shows that three licensed dispensaries operate in Hamilton county.
It is illegal to sell marijuana intended for recreational use in Ohio. The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program Act prohibits medical cannabis users from smoking marijuana. Medical marijuana patients in Hamilton County can have marijuana products in the following forms: edibles, patches, oils, creams, plant materials, lotions, and tinctures. Medical marijuana patients with valid reasons can petition the Board of Pharmacy to add new forms of medical marijuana products.
Cannabis delivery is illegal in Hamilton County. The Medical Marijuana Control Program Act did not make provisions for the home delivery of medical marijuana products to medical marijuana cardholders.
A resident of Hamilton County interested in obtaining a medical marijuana card from the Medical Marijuana Control Program must be recommended by a certified physician. The recommending physician must have an active Certificate to Recommend (CTR) from the State Medical Board of Ohio. An applicant from Hamilton County can find a certified physician on the Medical Board’s CTR search website. Per the Medical Marijuana Control Program Act, a certified physician can recommend a patient with one of the following qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana therapy:
The physician will create a profile for the applicant on the Patient and Caregiver Registry if the applicant has any of the qualifying conditions. The applicant must supply a valid identification card to the physician for the registration. Examples of valid identification cards are Ohio driver’s license, US passport, and Ohio State-issued identification card. The MMCP will send an activation email with a link for completing the application to the applicant. The link will expire after 90 days.
Applicants must complete their registration on the Registry database and pay the $50 registration fee for medical marijuana cards. Veterans and indigent applicants may be eligible for 50% reduction in fees if requested from the Board of Pharmacy. The MMCP will send the medical marijuana cards via mail to successful applicants. The medical marijuana card is valid for a year and can be renewed by the patient with a recommendation from a CTR physician. Medical marijuana cardholders must maintain active relationships with their recommending physicians.
Medical Marijuana Registry applicants that did not receive the activation mail or were unable to complete their registration can contact the MMCP by phone - (833) 464-6627 or by email. They will need to supply the following: first name, last name, date of birth, and email address. The MMCP will send new registration links to the email addresses provided.
The legalization of medical marijuana has not affected the economy of Hamilton County, as there are no marijuana processors or cultivators located in the county. Also, Hamilton County does not place a sales tax on medical cannabis.
The Medical Marijuana Control Program Act was enacted in 2016 and it came into effect in 2017. The crime data submitted by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicated that there were 1,042 marijuana possession arrests and 105 marijuana sales arrests in 2015. In 2016, there were 835 marijuana possession arrests and 80 marijuana sales arrests. In 2017 when the medical marijuana law came into effect, there were 688 marijuana possession arrests and 58 marijuana sales arrests. In 2018, there were 573 marijuana possession arrests and 50 marijuana sales arrests. In 2019, 311 marijuana possession arrests and 230 marijuana sale arrests were recorded. The data showed a decrease in the number of marijuana possession arrests. The number of marijuana sales arrests in Hamilton County also progressively decreased from 2015 to 2018.
The Driving Under the Influence (DUI) data submitted by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office showed 237 DUI arrests in 2015 and 274 arrests in 2016. There were 235 DUI arrests in 2017 and 238 in 2018. The record submitted indicated that there were 190 DUI arrests in 2019. The DUI data showed that DUI arrests had remained at the same level before and immediately after the legalization of medical marijuana in the county. Driving under the influence arrests reduced significantly in 2019. In conclusion, the legalization of medical marijuana in the state has reduced marijuana-related arrest figures in Hamilton County based on the crime data from 2015 to 2019.