Ohio voters passed Issue 2 on November 7, 2023, which is a self-initiating statute that goes into effect 30 days after passage or on December 7, 2023. However, this does not mean that non-medical marijuana is legal on December 7.
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In this blog, we’ll cover the newest updates to Ohio law concerning the purchase and use of non-medical marijuana. Ohio law currently prohibits non-medical marijuana, and only those with certain qualifying medical conditions can obtain and use medical marijuana after a physician’s recommendation and registration with the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP).
For more information on medical marijuana, you can visit the MMCP website.
What is the new statute in Ohio?
Ohio voters passed Issue 2 on November 7, 2023, which is a self-initiating statute that goes into effect 30 days after passage or on December 7, 2023. However, this does not mean that non-medical marijuana is legal on December 7. Because it is a self-initiating statute, it may be amended by the state legislature. Any amendments to the statute could impact the timeline for the rulemaking and licensing process.
The language of Issue 2 legalizes the possession and use of marijuana by individuals aged 21 and over, the sale of marijuana by state-licensed dispensaries, and the creation of the Division of Cannabis Control within the Ohio Department of Commerce.
Can I purchase and use marijuana in Ohio now?
Non-medical marijuana will not be immediately available to purchase in dispensaries and the general public is currently not permitted in dispensaries unless the individual is a registered patient or caregiver in the MMCP. There are currently no entities licensed to sell non-medical marijuana in the state of Ohio.
The new division within the Department of Commerce has nine months to complete the rulemaking and licensing processes for non-medical marijuana. Sales may not begin until licenses are issued, and facilities are certified. The MMCP will continue to be administered by the Division of Cannabis Control and MMCP patients and caregivers are encouraged to keep their patient or caregiver card active.
What are the rules regarding employment, housing, and driving? Can I be fired or evicted for using marijuana at my job or in my apartment?
In addition to timing and rules, there are and will be instances where you can run into legal issues if you possess and/or use marijuana. Your job can still prohibit the use of marijuana and drug test you, your landlord can prohibit marijuana in their properties, and you are not allowed to be under the influence of marijuana while operating a motor vehicle. The answer is it depends, but you could be fired or evicted for using marijuana. Check your employee handbook and lease agreements to know what is prohibited in the workplace and rental properties.
What forms of marijuana will be allowed for purchase? What about using marijuana in public?
The statute allows the following forms of non-medical marijuana to be sold at dispensaries: plant material and seeds, live plants, clones (a non-flowering plant cut from a mother plant), extracts, drops, lozenges, oils, tinctures, edibles, patches, smoking or combustible product, vaporization of product, beverages, pills, capsules, suppositories, oral pouches, oral strips, oral and topical sprays, salves, lotions or similar cosmetic products, and inhalers. Currently, even if you have a medical marijuana card, you cannot use marijuana by smoking or combustion. You can however, vape.
The new statute states that you may not use marijuana in public spaces, including smoking or vaping in public indoor spaces.
As more rules and regulations regarding non-medical marijuana are created, we will continue to update this blog post. Check back for more information at a later date.