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Can I Get in Trouble if My Friends Are Smoking Marijuana in the Car?


Although medical marijuana is legal, smoking in public spaces and buildings remains largely illegal and many residents opt instead to smoke on their own private property—or in it.

But is it legal to smoke marijuana in a car? What are the ramifications? And what could happen to you if you aren’t the individual or individuals smoking?

Ohio’s Marijuana and Driving Laws

Even though medical marijuana is legal and recreational marijuana has been largely decriminalized, driving under the influence (DUI) or operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) is still very much illegal. While DUIs and OVIs usually relate to alcohol, you can still get in trouble for operating a vehicle under the influence of any substance that affects your ability to drive. In 2010, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a report stating roughly 10 million Americans drove under the influence of illegal drugs in the previous year.

Ohio As a “Per Se” State

To prove that the driver of a vehicle is under the influence, officers must order a urinalysis or blood test. However, since THC can stay present in the bloodstream and urine of an individual for 4-5 weeks, it’s very difficult to gauge impairment at the time of testing.

Ohio is a “per se” limit state, meaning that there are certain limits for the amount of traceable drugs allowed in your system if you were pulled over. In Ohio, there are three ways an officer can charge a driver with a drug DUI:

  1. Surpassing the THC limits - THC in the amount of 2 ng/ml milliliter in blood or 10 ng/ml in urine.

  2. Surpassing the metabolite limits - THC metabolite in the amount of 50 ng/ml of blood or 35 ng/ml of urine.

  3. Showing visible signs of impairment - The individual is exhibiting signs of impairment due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or some combination of both and has a marijuana metabolite concentration 5ng/ml in the blood or 15 ng/ml in urine.

It should be noted that a doctor’s prescription is not a valid excuse to drive under the influence of any drug that relates to motor skills or can lead to impaired driving. You can still be charged with a DUI or OVI if you have a medical marijuana prescription.

We Can Answer Your Legal Questions Regarding Marijuana

If you have had a run in with the law, look no further than The Meranda Law Firm. Our seasoned Ohio criminal defense attorneys can help answer any of your questions and defend you against DUI charges.

Contact The Meranda Law Firm at (614) 707-4239 for a no-fee consultation to discuss your legal matters.