In Ohio marijuana has been decriminalized. We are off to a great start here! Medicinal marijuana has also been approved if the patient is 18 years old or older and everything is prescribed by a medical provider. Looks like Ohio is two for two right out of the gate!
Hold on, don’t start packing up the car yet. Ohio isn’t perfect (what state is?) as they do have *mandatory minimum sentencing laws in place.
*What is the MMS law in Ohio?
When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by the MMS, the judge MUST sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence! On top of this a person serving a mandatory minimum sentence is not eligible for parole. Ouch. So to put this into perspective, even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to “life MMS” must serve a life sentence. And don’t forget, there is no chance of parole, but since most first offenses (under 100 grams) are treated like minor traffic violations, you could get off with just a warning. If you are convicted of a crime, bear in mind that you could have your driver’s license snatched away anywhere from six months to five years!!
Harsh, but not that harsh
Here’s the deal. Less than 100 grams on your person there is no possibility of jail time. Same goes for a “gift” of 20 grams or less on your first offense. At worst, you’re looking at a $150 fine. You won’t hit the really hard sentencing until you move into holding 20,000 g to 40,000 g in MJ, or you try to sell it. That’s when Ohio’s MMS laws come into effect, and it ain’t pretty but it’s better than being caught in a southern sister state. An absolute no-refunds-please of five years with a possibility of maxing out at eight. For some reason holding comes with a fine of $15k, while trying to sell is only $2,500. The same fines apply if you hold or sell above 40,000 grams, but your jail sentence will flatline at a cool eight years.
Doing any of the above to a minor, within 1,000 feet of a school or 100 feet of a minor (seriously, just leave those poor minors alone) or by/withholding hands of one who has a previous drug conviction, your fines and jail time are subject to be increased.
Hash and concentrates
Hash and concentrates are a little more strict, although there are no minimum sentences enacted. Possessing less than five grams solid or one gram liquid will get you a slap on the wrist and up to $150 in fines. Anything above that will start adding jail time, but you’re at the mercy of the judge when it comes to sentencing.
Paraphernalia is treated pretty sanely as well. Possession of paraphernalia in Ohio is solely a misdemeanor, no jail time and a small fine of $150. The sale of paraphernalia on the other hand is a misdemeanor with up to 90 days of jail time and a max fine of $750.
Minor misdemeanor does not go on your criminal record
For the record, a minor misdemeanor (all offenses without the possibility of jail time) does not go on your criminal record. Conditional release is also a possibility in the Buckeye state, so first time offenders may be able to trade in a trial for probation and keep criminal offenses off their record.