In September 2016, medical marijuana became legal in Ohio. Since then, a lot of the pre-existing DUI (driving under the influence) and OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence) laws have been updated to accommodate legally prescribed marijuana use. Still, many are confused about medical marijuana and DUI laws in Ohio.
Background on Medical Marijuana in Ohio
After the legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio on September 8, 2016, there have been various checkpoints on the way to the rollout date of September 8, 2018. However, the 2018 deadline is unlikely to be achieved, as the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Certificates to growers and retailers have been persistently delayed. Until the certificates are issued, people cannot buy medical marijuana in Ohio. Instead, they can get a doctor’s note that will allow them to purchase medical marijuana outside of Ohio legally.
Medical Conditions That Qualify for Medical Marijuana Use
Currently, a physician certified by the Ohio State Medical Board can prescribe medical marijuana for the following medical conditions:AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or other seizure disorders, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, severe or intractable chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, HIV positive status, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord injuries or diseases, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis.At this point, recreational marijuana remains illegal in Ohio. Growers of medical marijuana may not use the marijuana they grow for personal use.
Legal Driving Limits
Just like with alcohol, there are set legal limits on medical marijuana in your blood or urine. The allowable amount depends on whether the police officer gathers evidence from blood or urine, as they have different levels that would make one impaired. The legal limit in Ohio is two nanograms per milliliter of marijuana in the bloodstream. When the test sample comes from your urine, the legal limit is 10 nanograms per milliliter. There is currently no simple measurement or rule of thumb for marijuana intake, such as what one inhale or one bite equates to in nanograms per milliliter in the blood. The plethora of different strains out there contain different THC concentrations. However, a study by Skopp and Potsch found that smoking marijuana causes an immediate spike in blood THC, then usually decline within an hour.
What Happens if You Get a DUI/OVI
If you get a DUI/OVI charge from medical marijuana, the consequences are similar to what would happen for an alcohol-related offense. A first offense carries a fine ranging from $375 to $1,075. The person may also face at least three days to six months in jail, and a suspended driver’s license. Repeat offenses carry stricter penalties.When it comes to medical marijuana and operating a vehicle, remember to be as safe as possible. If you feel like you aren’t safe to be on the roadways, it’s best to wait until you do feel safe or have someone else drive. And if you do get a DUI/OVI charge, consult a lawyer. IMAGE: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain