Ohio’s Marihuana Possession Laws
Marihuana is illegal in Ohio. See O.R.C. 2925.11. While some states have taken steps to legalize, decriminalize or actively not enforce marihuana laws, Ohio maintains criminal penalties for possession of even small amounts of pot. The Ohio State Highway Patrol has stepped up marihuana enforcement and local police, depending on the jurisdiction, are vigilant in enforcing marihuana laws. Unlike many other states, Ohio’s penalties are based entirely on weight. Even a trace amount of a controlled substance may be the basis for a drug abuse conviction. State v. Teamer (1998), 82 Ohio St. 3d 490.
Possession of less than 100 grams is a minor misdemeanor which carries no possibility of jail and a maximum fine of $150. 101 grams to 200 grams of marihuana, if possessed, will result in a 4th degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $250 and a jail sentence of up to 30 days. Possessing (which includes holding) over 201 to 999 grams is a fifth degree felony level offense which carries a 6 to 12 months in prison (not jail…prison) and a maximum fine of $2,500. If caught possession 1000 to 4999 grams you face a third degree felony, a maximum $10,000 fine and anywhere from 1-5 years in prison. Interestingly, possession 5000-19,999 is also a third degree felony carrying the same potential penalties as possession 1000-4999 grams but many judges sentence offender more harshly at this level of possession. If a defendant is found with over 20,000 grams he or she faces a mandatory 8 years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000. Alleged offenders may face any one or more of the following direct penalties: Jail or prison sentence, Probation or parole, Regular or random drug testing, Fines, Community service, Court-ordered substance abuse treatment, A criminal record, License suspension and untold unexpected consequences from a humiliation, loss of employment to expulsion from school and being barred from subsidized housing. Even minor drug cases, such as possession of a small amount of marijuana, can prevent you from getting a job, qualifying for student loans or obtaining a weapons permit. Felony drug offenses also have potential to result in forfeiture of money or property.
2925.11 Possession of controlled substances.
(A) No person shall knowingly obtain, possess, or use a controlled substance.
(C) Whoever violates division (A) of this section is guilty of one of the following:
(3) If the drug involved in the violation is marihuana or a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance containing marihuana other than hashish, whoever violates division (A) of this section is guilty of possession of marihuana. The penalty for the offense shall be determined as follows:
(a) Except as otherwise provided in division (C)(3)(b), (c), (d), (e), or (f) of this section, possession of marihuana is a minor misdemeanor.
(b) If the amount of the drug involved equals or exceeds one hundred grams but is less than two hundred grams, possession of marihuana is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
Ohio also defines “possession” expansively. See State v. Mann (1993), 93 Ohio App. 3d 301, 308-309 — “A person has constructive possession of a thing or substance when he is able to exercise dominion or control over it…Ownership of the contraband need not be established. A person may indeed control or possess property belonging to another. The Supreme Court has held that knowledge of illegal good on one’s property is sufficient to show constructive possession….Where the defendant neither owns, leases nor occupies the premises, his mere presence in an apartment in which drugs and criminal tools are found is insufficient evidence of his possession of the contraband…” According to Ohio Revised Code § 2925, marijuana offenses require merely “knowledge” and “reasonable belief.”
A marijuana arrest and charge does not mean that you will be convicted. There are several defenses to marijuana charges that will result in a dismissal of the charges. Drug possession charges can be challenged and beaten in court with a variety of legal strategies, including motions to suppress on grounds of illegal search, and a host of other options depending on the facts of your particular case. If you find yourself facing a drug charge it is vital that you 1) take the charge seriously, and 2) contact a lawyer with the skill and knowledge to defend your case. We offer free consultations and once we know the facts of your case we can give you a good indication of what type of sentence you face and what we can do to beat the case. We are former prosecutors and skilled defenders who have built a team of former cops, forensic experts, toxicologists, and medical professionals. We take our job seriously and we fight.
Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused in Fairborn, Dayton, Springfield, Kettering, Vandalia, Xenia, Miamisburg, Springboro, Huber Heights, Oakwood, Beavercreek, Centerville and throughout Ohio. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671. For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube. You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.