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Possession of marijuana is a frequent charge seen in Ohio’s criminal courts, and is nothing to take lightly. Even the most minor conviction can have ripple effects that present obstacles in your life for years to come, whether it’s in the pursuit of higher education or trying to find a good job. If you’re convicted of a drug offense, you’ll feel the stigma of that for many years.
However, you don’t have to resign yourself to a drug conviction if you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana in Ohio. There are ways that a good Columbus criminal defense lawyer can help. Whether it’s using a traditional defense or proving that you are eligible for medical marijuana use, we can assist you with your case.
Marijuana typically is used in the form of the dried leaves, stems, seeds and flowers of the plant Cannabis sativa. Users may feel a psychoactive effect from the drug, although in some states it may legally be used for medicinal purposes, such as to alleviate pain and nausea suffered by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Ohio does not allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes. The active ingredient in marijuana is THC, which is found in its highest concentrations in the leaves and flowers. The most common way to use marijuana is to smoke it, which allows the THC to be absorbed from the lungs into the bloodstream, which in turn transports the chemical to the brain where it acts on certain receptors to create a euphoric feeling known as a “high.”
Under Ohio Rev. Code 3719.41(C), marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug and grouped with hallucinogens such as LSD or peyote. Schedule I drugs are considered to have the highest potential for abuse and no approved medical or therapeutic benefit. For purposes of the state’s criminal drug laws, marijuana includes all parts of the cannabis plant, its seeds, its resin, and any compound, derivative, or mixture containing cannabis. The definition in Ohio Rev. Code 3719 excludes the mature stalks of the plant and its compounds and derivatives, and fiber produced from the stalks such as hemp rope.
Possession of marijuana is a crime in Ohio regardless of the amount. However, the amount in your possession will determine the degree of the offense and the resulting penalties if you’re convicted. The elements of the crime of marijuana possession boil down to:
You can be charged with possession even if the marijuana is not on your person. Ohio law recognizes two forms of possession: actual and constructive. Possession essentially comes down to the legal idea of “dominion and control,” or in other words ownership or the ability to immediately take physical possession.
The penalties for marijuana possession Ohio range from a small fine to years of incarceration. The maximum penalty imposed for a conviction depends on the quantity of marijuana. A relatively small amount is a minor misdemeanor, but possession can be as serious as a second-degree felony when the quantity is very large.
Additionally, whenever you’re convicted of a drug offense in Ohio, you face loss of driving privileges for anywhere from six months to five years, regardless of whether you were driving at the time you were charged.
Here’s how the penalties break down in the Ohio Revised Code.
When you commit a drug offense in the vicinity of a juvenile, that has the potential to increase the penalties upon conviction.
Even a minor marijuana possession conviction could have a lasting effect on your life. If you’re a student or planning to pursue a degree at some point, a drug conviction may bar you from admission to a college or university and can prohibit you from getting federal financial aid, such as grants or student loans, to pay for school. Drug convictions also can be a barrier to getting a job or renting an apartment, and may affect your immigration status if you are not a U.S. citizen.
However, with the help of a skilled Columbus criminal defense attorney, you may be able to avoid a conviction, get your charge reduced, or enter into an alternative sentencing agreement such as going through a substance abuse program, so that you can move on with your life after an unfortunate mistake.
If you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana, you might be panicking. You’re probably worried about whether you’re going to go to jail. Even if the marijuana wasn’t yours, you may be afraid no one will believe you and that you’ll end up with a criminal record because of a mistake.
There are a number of ways that you may be able to fight the marijuana possession charge with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney will do a detailed review of every piece of evidence and testimony in your case, as well as the process the police used to find the marijuana and arrest you for the crime. It very well may be that your rights were violated somewhere along the way, or the evidence was collected using procedures that were tainted.
Some common defense strategies include:
A possession charge can result in jail or prison time, expensive fines, and a mark on your criminal record if you’re convicted. This is why having an Columbus criminal defense attorney who can assess the evidence against you, build a strong defense, and fight for your freedoms is essential. Call us at or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation. We are available 24/7.