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Trafficking Marijuana

Marijuana use, trafficking, sale or distribution is strictly prohibited in the state of Ohio. At this time, marijuana is not legalized for medical use in Ohio. Marijuana trafficking is a serious criminal offense that is punished with harsh penalties if convicted. In addition to a prison sentence and extensive fines, a conviction of marijuana trafficking will negatively impact other areas of your life such as employment, education, and maintaining custody of your children.

If you are facing marijuana trafficking charges, it is imperative that you contact a Cincinnati Criminal Defense attorney as soon as possible due to the serious nature of this offense. They will be able to properly advise you of the best legal defenses available with regard to the particular facts and circumstances of your case.

Marijuana trafficking falls under Ohio Revised Code (ORC 2925.03) which states that no individual shall knowingly engage in either or a combination of the following acts:

  • Selling or offering to sell any controlled substances;
  • Preparing for shipment, shipping, transporting, delivering, preparing for distribution, or distributing a controlled substance when the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the substance is intended for sale or resale to someone else.

Essentially marijuana trafficking means to selling or distributing marijuana to another person.

In Ohio, to be convicted of marijuana trafficking, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable that five different elements existed.

  1. “Possession” or “possess” – this means controlling or having control over a particular substance, but may not be based only on access to the substance through ownership or occupying the premises upon which the substance is found;

  2. “Knowledge” or “knowingly” – this means that the person committing the offense had awareness, purpose and intention to engage in a particular act;

  3. Intent or intention to sell;

  4. Sale or sale occurred;

  5. “Reasonable cause” – this is based on the reasonable person standard, which centers on what the average person would typically believe under the particular circumstances and facts of the situation in question.

Law enforcement in Ohio is committed to cracking down on trafficking in marijuana. As a result, a variety of techniques are used to find offenders. The following are a few examples of ways in which police are reducing marijuana offenses:

  • Informants are used who have access to specialized information and oftentimes have a bias or motivation for apprehending the offender. Informants are often willing to work with police and provide information in order to gain some kind of personal advantage such as having pending criminal charged dropped against them.
  • Investigations utilizing informants, means of entrapment and undercover activity for the purpose of inducing illegal activity to find and arrest the purported offender.
  • Stakeouts or hidden surveillance tactics and mechanisms.
  • Monitoring of offender’s assets through thermal imaging equipment and helicopters.
  • Consent to search a home, vehicle or building through a properly obtained warrant.

Marijuana trafficking penalties

Ohio marijuana trafficking penalty breakdown

  • Less than 20 grams
    fifth degree felony with at least 6 months in jail and up to $2,500 in fines
  • Between 200 and 999 grams
    fourth degree felony with at least six months and fines up to $2,500

If you are convicted for marijuana trafficking, the penalties that you will face are dependent on the facts and circumstances of your particular case such as where the offense occurred and the amount of marijuana that you possessed, were selling or distributing. If you sold marijuana near a school or to a minor, then the penalties that you will face will undoubtedly be harsher.

If you are convicted for the first time for providing a gift, but not selling, less than 20 grams of marijuana you will be charged with a minor misdemeanor. If this is your second offense, you will be charged with a third degree misdemeanor. You will face a maximum fine of $150. If this offense occured near a school or the sale or marijuana is made to a minor, you will be charged with a third degree misdemeanor. You will face a maximum fine of $150 and up to 60 days in jail.

If you are convicted for marijuana trafficking and the amount is less than 200 grams, then you will be charged with a fifth degree felony. This entails at least six and up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. If this offense occured near a school or the sale is made to a minor, then you will be charged with a fourth degree felony. This entails at least six and up to 18 months in prison, in addition to up to $2,500 in fines.

If you are convicted for marijuana trafficking and the amount is between 200 and 999 grams, then you will be charged with a fourth degree felony. This entails at least six and up to 18 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. If this offense occured near a school or the sale is made to a minor, then you will be charged with a third degree felony. This entails at least one and up to five years in prison, in addition to fines up to $2,500.

If you are convicted for marijuana trafficking and the amount is between 1000 and 5,000 grams, then you will be charged with a third degree felony. This entails at least one and up to five years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. If this offense occured near a school or the sale is made to a minor, then you will be charged with a second degree felony. This entails at least 2 and up to 8 years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.

If you are convicted for marijuana trafficking and the amount is between 5,000 and 20,000 grams then you will be charged with a third degree felony. This entails at least one and up to five years in prison, in addition to fines up to $2,500. If this offense occured near a school or the sale is made to a minor, then you will be charged with a second degree felony. This entails at least 2 and up to 8 years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.

If you are convicted for marijuana trafficking and the amount is between 20,000 and 40,000 grams then you will be charged with a second degree felony. This entails at least two and up to eight years in prison, in addition to fines up to $2,5000. If this offense occured near a school or the sale is made to a minor, then you will be charged with a first degree felony. This entails at least 2 and up to 8 years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.

If you are convicted for marijuana trafficking and the amount is more than 40,000 grams, you will be charged with a second degree felony. This entails at least eight years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. If this offense occurred near a school or the sale is made to a minor, then you will be charged with a first degree felony. This entails at least 2 and up to 8 years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.

Due to the fact that Ohio drug laws are complicated, you should always consult with a knowledgeable Cincinnati Criminal Defense attorney who will best be able to provide you proper counsel regarding the specific facts and circumstances of your case.

Other Consequences of Marijuana Trafficking

In addition to prison time and hefty fines, marijuana trafficking conviction will have a negative impact on other areas of your life as well. You may face difficulty keeping or finding a job, furthering your education, difficulty financially, maintaining professional licensures and maintaining custody of your children.

If you are convicted of marijuana trafficking, it is important to be aware that you will also face a mandatory driver’s license suspension. This suspension will last a minimum of six months to a maximum of three years, depending on the severity of the charge that you face.

Defending Marijuana Trafficking Offenses

Regardless of what the facts and circumstances of your case are, there are defenses that can be raised on your behalf. The Cincinnati Criminal Defense team will take the time to examine what legal strategies are most appropriate in defending your case.

Perhaps there is an explanation for why you were in possession of the marijuana – they were not yours and / or someone placed them in your belongings without your consent or knowledge. Perhaps there is a different reason as to why you had the marijuana; you have a substance abuse problem or are going through a difficult period in your life. Regardless what happened in your case, there are ways of mitigating these factors and potentially receiving a lesser sentence.

The following are a list of factors that are taken into consideration in determining whether there were any errors made in your case:

  • Whether there were any search warrants issued without probable cause;
  • Whether an illegal search was conducted;
  • Whether your Fourth Amendment rights were violated;
  • Whether illegal forms of surveillance were involved;
  • Whether your Miranda Rights were read in their entirety;
  • Whether any evidence was illegally obtained;
  • Whether lab results and analysis were handled properly.

If you are facing your first conviction of marijuana trafficking in Ohio, the court may be more lenient with your sentence. A clean criminal record can will undoubtedly work to your advantage if you are convicted. The Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorneys will do everything in their power to argue for a reduction in your charges and minimizing your penalties.

Every day in Ohio, there are many individuals who are charged with marijuana trafficking. Although each case is different, it is imperative that you obtain an experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate attorney who will fight for your legal rights and best interest. The Cincinnati Criminal Defense team has successfully defended hundreds of individuals charged with felony drug possession. Their knowledge, experience and compassion for your case will help you receive the justice you deserve.

Facing criminal charges? Contact us today.

Criminal charges can be an overwhelming and frightening experience. You are probably worried about your freedoms and privileges being at stake and have a lot of questions. You can rest assured, because the Cincinnati Criminal Defense team is here for you. Get the justice that you deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at or email us at advice@cincinnaticriminalattorney.com.
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