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Ohio Hemp Law Causes Issues Prosecuting Marijuana Crimes

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 57 into law on July 30, 2019, legalizing the cultivation and sale of hemp and hemp-based products such as CBD.

In response to the new legislation, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost told state prosecutors to hold off pursuing marijuana charges—or dismissing such cases altogether.

According to Ohio law, hemp is defined as cannabis with less than .03 percent THC. Anything above is considered pot and illegal unless you have a medical marijuana prescription.

The main issue is that local and state crime labs do not possess the technology to determine the presence of THC, which is the psychoactive component of cannabis that causes the high.

The state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation labs are currently in the process of purchasing and creating testing equipment. However, there are a few out-of-state labs where police departments could send their samples until Ohio labs can conduct such tests.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol still plans to make marijuana-related arrests not solely based on possessing cannabis. Other factors of probable cause include the odor of marijuana, the presence of drug paraphernalia (e.g. rolling papers, pipe, bong, etc.), red eyes, slurred speech, and delayed reactions.

Possession of fewer than 100 grams (or around 3.5 ounces) of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense, which carries a maximum $150 fine. Possession of between 100 and less than 200 grams is also a misdemeanor but punishable by a jail term of up to 30 days and a maximum $250 fine.

If you have been arrested for a marijuana crime in Dayton, contact L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC today at (937) 685-7006 and request a free case evaluation.

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