On November 7, 2023, Ohio voters gave a resounding “yes” to Issue 2, a groundbreaking ballot measure that legalizes the possession, use, and cultivation of adult-use cannabis. This monumental shift in Ohio’s marijuana policy aligns our state with the nationwide movement towards cannabis reform.
But before you bask in the excitement, it’s crucial to understand the implications of this new law, especially if you’re facing a criminal charge related to marijuana possession or have a prior conviction.
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, our dedicated team of Cincinnati criminal defense lawyers is here to provide comprehensive legal counsel for those navigating Ohio’s newly legalized recreational marijuana landscape and other drug charges.
Recreational Marijuana in Cincinnati, Ohio
With the passage of Issue 2, recreational marijuana is now officially legal in Cincinnati. Here are the key provisions you should be aware of:
- Possession and Use of Marijuana: Adults aged 21 and over can legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and 15 grams of cannabis concentrate.
- Home Marijuana Cultivation: Homegrown marijuana cultivation is permitted, with a limit of 6 plants per individual and no more than 12 plants per household.
- Commercial Marijuana Sale: Commercial sale of cannabis is authorized, subject to a regulatory framework that oversees cultivators, processors, and dispensaries.
- Local Cannabis Control: Local jurisdictions retain the authority to limit or prohibit the operation of cannabis establishments within their boundaries.
- Marijuana Tax Revenue: Tax revenue generated from cannabis sales will fund administrative costs, substance abuse programs, and other community projects.
So, Cannabis is Legal, What Happens Now?
While the legalization of recreational marijuana is undoubtedly a milestone, there are important considerations to keep in mind:
- Its Effective in 30 Days: – The measure does not go into effect until 30 days after the election. Also, state legislators may revisit and modify the language of the law.
- Prior Convictions for Pot: Individuals with prior marijuana-related convictions will not automatically have their records expunged.
- Driving Under the Influence: Driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal. The legal threshold for “impairment” is an evolving issue and may require legal challenges to ensure fair enforcement.
- Police Authority: The extent to which law enforcement’s ability to seize persons and conduct searches may be affected by the new law remains to be litigated.
Legal Marijuana & Your Job
While recreational marijuana is now legal, employers in Cincinnati still have the right to enforce drug-free workplace policies and can discipline employees who test positive for marijuana, even if the use occurs off-duty.
Since marijuana remains illegal under federal law, Cincinnati residents employed in federal positions or subject to federal regulations (like Department of Transportation rules) must adhere to stricter federal standards.
How to Expunge Marijuana Convictions?
Issue 2 recognizes the harmful impact of previous marijuana laws. It calls for a process to facilitate the expungement of certain marijuana-related offenses and offers support for individuals and communities disproportionately affected by previous marijuana laws.
The current expungement system was established after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill into law earlier this year, making it easier to expunge misdemeanor convictions, including low-level marijuana possession charges. An application for expungement can be filed six months after final release for minor misdemeanors and one year after final release for all other misdemeanors.
Interested in Starting a Cannabis Business?
For entrepreneurs looking to enter Cincinnati’s newly legitimate cannabis market, the regulatory landscape will be complex and competitive. It’s crucial to seek legal counsel to navigate the intricacies of the new regulatory framework, especially since medical dispensaries have been operating in Ohio for years.
Marijuana Crimes Can Still Happen
Despite recent legalization and the enthusiasm surrounding the possibilities, there are still legal complexities that could impact those with pending marijuana charges around Hamilton County. Disputes over the interpretation and implementation of the new law, challenges to old convictions, and potential legal challenges to the law itself could leave the outcome of your case uncertain.
Therefore, whether your marijuana arrest or conviction happened before or after Issue 2 passed, it’s wise to treat the matter seriously and consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. They can assess your case’s circumstances, how the passage of Issue 2 might affect it, and the best way to move forward.
Cincinnati’s New Era of Regulated Marijuana Use
Cincinnati’s legalization of recreational marijuana is a significant step forward. As the law transitions, Luftman, Heck & Associates is committed to providing comprehensive legal guidance to those in Cincinnati and the surrounding areas.
For more details or specific concerns about a pending drug charge in Cincinnati or expungement, contact Brad Groene and Juliea Crumes with Luftman, Heck & Associates. Our team prides itself on its dedication, skill, and record for securing favorable results in cases like yours. Call(513) 338-1890 24/7 for a free, confidential case evaluation.