Possession of Marijuana

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Possession of Marijuana Attorney

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio marijuana possession attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your possession of marijuana case.

Possession of Marijuana Under Ohio Law in Ohio

Pursuant to ORC 2925.11, it is illegal to knowingly obtain, possess or use marijuana. Thus, the required element of knowledge and/or a reasonable belief that the substance is marijuana is required. Knowledge means the specific intent or purpose to possess marijuana.

A person must have actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance in order to be charged with drug possession in Ohio. Actual possession is having physical control of the controlled substance on your person or in your possession. For example, if the controlled substance is in your pocket, you are in actual possession of a controlled substance. Constructive possession exists when an individual knowingly exercises dominion and control over an object, even though that object may not be within the individual’s immediate physical possession.

Penalties for Possession of Marijuana in Ohio

The penalties for possession of marijuana in Ohio vary based on the amount of marijuana in the offender’s possession, the number of previous criminal convictions, and whether the offense was committed near a school or juvenile. The charge can vary from a minor misdemeanor to a 2nd degree felony and can result in penalties from a small fine to years in prison. Below is a breakdown of the possible offense levels.

Minor Misdemeanor

Ohio has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana,  but penalties exist for any amount of marijuana that is possessed. While there is no potential for jail time, a minor misdemeanor marijuana possession charge can result in a $150 fine.

4th Degree Misdemeanor

If the amount of the drug that is possessed is 100-199 grams, the charge will be a 4th degree misdemeanor. This charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.

5th Degree Felony

Possessing 200 – 999 grams of marijuana is a 5th degree felony, which carries a potential prison sentence of 1 year in jail and a $2500 fine. Pursuant to ORC 2929.13(B), your attorney can argue that you should receive a community control sanction in lieu of a prison sentence. All of the following must apply for this to be available:

  1. The offender has not been convicted of a felony offense;
  2. The most serious charge against the offender is a 4th or 5th degree felony;
  3. A program administering community control sanctions must be available; and
  4. The offender has not been convicted of a misdemeanor offense of violence in the prior 2 years.

3rd Degree Felony

If an offender possessed 1000 – 19,999 grams of marijuana, a 3rd degree felony will be charged, which carries a potential prison sentence of 9 months – 3 years and a fine of $5000 – $10,000. However, there is a difference based on the amount of marijuana that the offender possessed.

If the amount is less than 5000 grams, 2929.13(C) applies in determining a prison sentence and there is no presumption of prison. If the amount of marijuana is 5000 – 19,999 grams there is a presumption of prison.

2nd Degree Felony

If the amount of the drug possessed is more than 20,000 grams, a 2nd degree felony will be charged, which carries a potential prison sentence of 5-8 years and a fine of $15,000. However, there is a difference based on the amount of marijuana that the offender possessed.

If the amount is less than 40,000 grams, the offender faces a mandatory 5 – 8 years in prison. However, if the amount is 40,000 grams or more, a mandatory prison term of 8 years applies.

The following table summarizes the preceding information:

Possession of Marijuana

Amount in GramsChargeMaximum Jail/Prison TimePresumption/Mandatory PrisonMaximum Fine
Less than 100 Minor MisdemeanorNoneNone$150
100 - 1994th Degree Misdemeanor30 daysNone$250
200 - 9995th Degree Felony6-12 monthsNone$2500
1000 - 49993rd Degree Felony9 months - 3 yearsNone$10,000
5000 - 19,9993rd Degree Felony9 months - 3 yearsPresumption$10,000
20,000 - 39,9992nd Degree Felony5-8 yearsMandatory$15,000
40,000 or more2nd Degree Felony8 yearsMandatory$15,000
Secondary Consequences for a Marijuana Possession Conviction in Ohio

In addition to criminal penalties, a drug conviction can result in significant secondary consequences, such as difficulty finding employment, student loans and other government assistance, and jeopardizing any pending or future child custody actions.

Moreover, any person who is convicted of a drug possession charge may have their driver’s license suspended for 6 months to 5 years and have any professional licenses (e.g., lawyers, nurses, teachers, etc.) suspended or revoked.

Possession With Intent to Sell Marijuana in Ohio

Law enforcement, upon making an arrest for possession of marijuana, will attempt to find evidence of intent to sell marijuana. Possession of marijuana with intent to sell carries significantly harsher penalties than possession.

Possession of marijuana with intent to sell is governed under by Ohio’s Trafficking in Marijuana statute, ORC 2925.03. Possession of marijuana with intent to sell require that 5 elements be met: possession, knowledge, intent, sale and reasonable cause. The factors are defined as follows:

  1. Possession – exercising dominion and control over the marijuana at issue.
  2. Knowledge – awareness and intent to sell marijuana.
  3. Intent – knowledge and purpose to sell marijuana in the person’s possession.
  4. Sale – preparation, transportation, shipment or delivery of marijuana in the person’s possession.
  5. Reasonable Cause – the alleged offender must believe that the marijuana in his or her possession is intended for sale to another person.

A higher volume of marijuana in a person’s possession can lead to an inference that the marijuana is being held for sale, not personal use.

Ohio Defenses to Possession of Marijuana

Several defenses exist for possession of marijuana. These include unlawful search and seizure, lack of Miranda warnings, entrapment by law enforcement, mistaken identity, and lack of possession.

The primary defense would be unlawful search and seizure. Law enforcement does not always comply with search and seizure laws, creating an opportunity for you to assert that the police violated your constitutional rights. An unlawful search and seizure could result from a lack of probable cause or search warrant, and from a search warrant that was not properly executed.

In the event that an unlawful search and seizure took place, your attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence. If granted, the evidence obtained in violation of your constitutional rights will be excluded from the prosecution’s case and the charges may be dismissed.

If you were charged with possession of marijuana and the arresting officer failed to administer Miranda warnings, anything you said to the police officer will not be admissible in court.

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Marijuana Possession Attorney

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC to discuss your case. An experienced and knowledgeable Columbus and Delaware, Ohio marijuana possession attorney can help you fight the charge and achieve the best possible outcome. Call Johnson Legal, LLC at (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation to discuss your possession of marijuana case. For more information, consult Johnson Legal, LLC’s Marijuana Defense Blog.

Johnson Legal, LLC serves the following cities in the central Ohio area for marijuana possession:

Westerville, Worthington, Columbus, Polaris, Reynoldsburg, Grandview Heights, Shawnee Hills, Bexley, Pickerington, Gahanna, Sunbury, Powell, Upper Arlington, New Albany, Dublin, Hilliard, Lewis Center, Galena, Clintonville, Huber Ridge, Blacklick, Grove City, Delaware, Marysville, Groveport, Newark, Canal Winchester, Obetz, MarionPataskala, Franklin County, Morrow County, Licking County, Union County and Delaware County