Is Medical-Only Weed Legal in Ohio?

September 2, 2021
Ohio Cannabis Legality
Ohio Cannabis Legality

Is Marijuana Legal in the State of Ohio?

While recreational cannabis use remains illegal under Ohio law, the state does operate a medical marijuana program for qualifying patients, which provides them with a medical card that is valid in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, or any state-licensed dispensary for that matter.  Also, The Buckeye State has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of weed.

History of Weed Laws

In June of 2016, Governor Kasich signed HB523, thus launching the state’s first medical marijuana program, known as the Medical Marijuana Control Program, for patients with certain qualifying conditions who have been approved for cannabis use by their physicians.  As a result of HB523, the Department of Commerce became responsible for regulating processors, cultivators, and laboratories, while the Board of Pharmacy became tasked with regulating the operations of dispensaries throughout the state, along with managing the state’s patient registry system.  The Medical Board was given the role of maintaining a list of qualifying conditions and certified healthcare professionals authorized to recommend marijuana to patients.

Where Can a Person Legally Purchase Weed in Ohio?

In Ohio, patients can only purchase cannabis if they have received a medical card from the state.  Recreational users cannot legally purchase marijuana anywhere in Ohio.

Medical patients are permitted to purchase up to a 45-day supply from a licensed dispensary in the state.  You can find a dispensary in your area, and while none of them offer delivery, some do provide curbside pickup.  Further, you can request a caregiver to purchase cannabis on your behalf.

Products that can legally be purchased from a dispensary are flower, topicals, transdermal patches, oils, edibles, and tinctures.

Where Can Cannabis Legally Be Used?

Ohio does not permit cannabis use in public, even by medical patients, and so it can only be done on private property.  It is illegal to smoke flower, so those who have flower must either vaporize it or use it to make edibles.  Also is illegal to make concentrates.

It is illegal to drive while under the influence of cannabis, regardless of medical status, which means that anyone who attempts to do so can face DUI charges.

Possession Laws

A medical patient can only possess a 45-day supply of cannabis at a time and cannot possess concentrates.  For recreational users, possession of less than 100 grams is now considered a minor misdemeanor, resulting in a $150 fine.  Possession of higher amounts remains illegal.

Can Residents Grow Their Own?

Home cultivation is not permitted in Ohio.  This means that anyone who is growing their own marijuana, whether or not they are a medical patient, can face criminal charges and potential drug trafficking laws.  The state does not allow home growing under any circumstances.

Medical Marijuana

The state’s medical marijuana program is managed by the Medical Marijuana Control Program, which oversees the application and approval process to provide qualified patients with a medical card that is valid at Ohio dispensaries authorized by the state.

Qualifying Conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Pain that is either chronic and severe, or intractable
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Spinal cord disease or injury
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis

Patients may petition the state to include another debilitating condition not on the list above.

Patient Qualifications:

A patient must be diagnosed with one of the above conditions by their physician to qualify, or they can attempt to petition the state to include their condition.  Note that only board-certified physicians approved by the state to recommend marijuana are valid.  You can find a list of qualified physicians on the MMCP website.

How to Register for Medical Marijuana in Ohio

A physician will create an online profile through the MMCP website on the patient’s behalf.  From there, the patient must complete the online patient profile, and pay a $50 application fee, or $25 if the patient is a veteran or indigent.  A state-issued ID is required to provide proof of residency.

Qualifying as a Caregiver

To apply for a caregiver position in Ohio, you must be at least 21 years of age.  A caregiver can only care for 2 patients at a time unless the patients live together.  Patients are allowed to request up to 2 caregivers. 

Registering as a Caregiver

Before applying through the state, a physician must submit a caregiver request on behalf of the patient through the MMCP website.  The caregiver will then receive an email that allows them to fill out an application form and pay a $50 application fee.

Reciprocity Laws

Will permit reciprocity, allowing out-of-state residents with authorized medical cards to purchase cannabis in Ohio dispensaries.  But, the state is currently working out reciprocity with individual states before this is enacted.


All batches of cannabis products sold or produced in OH must undergo a third-party testing process through a state-authorized laboratory.  This process tests the cannabinoid profile and potency of each product and looks for impurities and contaminants that may cause harm to the patient.