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Medical Marijuana Sales Begin in Ohio: What This Means for Ohio Residents


Medical marijuana use was legalized in Ohio back in 2016. Now, three years later, the first marijuana dispensaries have opened in the state.

January 1st saw the first dispensaries open and sales began on January 16, 2019. On the first day of legal sales, four dispensaries opened their doors and sold 8.7 pounds worth of product totaling $75,000 in revenue.

While medical marijuana is now legal in Ohio, recreational use is still illegal under both state and federal law, and there are many steps to go through to legally be permitted to buy and use marijuana for medical purposes. When it comes to your life and the law, it’s important to be as informed as possible as to how these new laws can impact you as a resident of Ohio.

Legalization of Medical Marijuana in Ohio

House Bill 523 was introduced in the spring of 2016 and six weeks later, passed in the Senate with a vote of 18-15. The House then voted 67-28 in favor of the bill, which pushed the bill onto the governor’s desk.

The law allows businesses to terminate workers who use medical marijuana for just cause in the same way businesses have just cause to fire employees who may abuse or be impaired by prescription opioids.

Stipulations like this have led many Ohio residents to question the laws and their rights regarding possession, use, and distribution of medical marijuana.

How To Obtain a Medical Marijuana License

Currently, there are 21 qualifying medical conditions that medical marijuana is approved to treat, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and AIDS.

Residents who are interested in obtaining a medical marijuana card will need to be recommended and approved by a physician with a certification to recommend by the State Medical Board of Ohio. Currently, 374 physicians have a certificate to recommend in the state of Ohio. Patients will need to provide physicians with a valid Ohio driver's license, a valid Ohio identification card issued by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), or a valid United States passport.

After receiving a recommendation from a physician, patients or caretakers of patients who wish to administer or use medical marijuana will also have to register with the State Board of Pharmacy.

Medical Marijuana FAQs

  • How many dispensaries are open/how many are expected to open?

    • As of February 7, 2019, 56 dispensaries were in possession of provisional licenses and 6 of these had received a Certificate of Operation. The State Board of Pharmacy may award up to 60 dispensary licenses in Ohio.

  • How do the permits for marijuana dispensaries work?

    • A full list of medical marijuana dispensaries with provisional licenses can be accessed here. A provisional license allows a dispensary to operate while their license paperwork is completed, but pending.

  • How many patients have cards?

    • As of January 1, 2019, there are 17,077 recommendations for residents in Ohio and 12,873 of those recommendations have registered with the State Board of Pharmacy.

  • How much medical marijuana can patients buy from a dispensary at once?

    • Currently, patients can purchase up to 8 ounces of tier 1 medical marijuana (23% THC or below) or up to 5.3 ounces of tier 2 medical marijuana (23% THC or above).

  • How much medical marijuana can a caretaker or patient possess at once?

    • Caretakers and patients are permitted to possess no more than a 90-day supply of tier 1 or tier 2 medical marijuana.

We Can Answer Your Legal Questions Regarding Medical Marijuana

As more residents begin using medical marijuana, more people will wonder how marijuana laws will affect them. If you have had a run in with the law and think your rights have been violated, look no further than The Meranda Law Firm. Our seasoned criminal defense attorneys can help answer any of your questions and make sure your legal rights to use medical marijuana are protected.

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