Trafficking in Marijuana

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Marijuana Attorney

If you have been charged with trafficking in marijuana in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio marijuana attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0291 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your trafficking in marijuana case.

Trafficking in Marijuana Under Ohio Law

Pursuant to ORC 2925.03, no person shall sell or offer to sell marijuana. Moreover, no person shall prepare for shipment, ship, transport, etc. marijuana when the person knows or has reasonable cause to know that the marijuana is intended for sale. Both types of actions constitute marijuana trafficking.

Thus, under Ohio law, “knowingly” and “reasonable cause” are elements required to be proved by the prosecution. “Knowingly” means having awareness, purpose and intent to act. To act “knowingly,” a person must contemplate the action and act in furtherance of that intent. “Reasonable cause” is based on what an average person would believe if under the same circumstances.

Penalties for Trafficking in Marijuana in Ohio

The penalties for trafficking in marijuana in Ohio vary based on the amount of marijuana the alleged offender attempts to sell, transport, ship, etc., and whether the offense was committed near a school or juvenile. The charge can vary from a minor misdemeanor to a 1st degree felony, and result in a mandatory prison sentence and significant fines. Below is a breakdown of the possible offense levels.

Misdemeanor

If the offense involves a gift of 20 grams or less of marijuana, trafficking is a minor misdemeanor upon a 1st offense and a 3rd degree misdemeanor for subsequent offenses. If committed near a school or juvenile, 3rd degree misdemeanor. If charged with a minor misdemeanor, the alleged offender faces a $150 fine. If charged with a 3rd degree misdemeanor, the potential exists for 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

5th Degree Felony

If the amount of marijuana allegedly trafficked is less than 200 grams, the charge will be a 5th degree felony, which carries a potential 6 – 12 months 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.

If this offense is committed near a school or juvenile, the offense level will be upgraded to a 4th degree felony and ORC 2929.13(C) will apply in determining the potential prison sentence. This offense carries a potential 6 – 18 months in prison and a $5000 fine.

4th Degree Felony

If an offender trafficked 200 – 999 grams, the charge will be a 4th degree felony, which carries a potential penalty of 6 – 18 months in jail and a $5000 fine. Additionally, ORC 2929.13(B) will apply in determining the potential prison sentence.

If this offense is committed near a school or juvenile, the offense level will be upgraded to a 3rd degree felony and ORC 2929.13(C) will apply in determining the potential prison sentence. This offense carries a potential 9 months to 3 years in prison and a $5000 fine.

3rd Degree Felony

If the amount of marijuana allegedly trafficked is 1000 – 19,999 grams, the charge will be a 3rd degree felony, which carries a potential sentence of 9 months to 3 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

If the amount trafficked was 1000 – 4999 grams, ORC 2929.13(C) applies in determining the prison sentence, but there is not a presumption of a prison sentence. If the amount is 5000 – 19,999 grams, there is a presumption of a prison sentence.

If the offense is committed near a school or juvenile, the offense level will be upgraded to a 2nd degree felony, which carries a potential 2 – 8 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. There is also the presumption of a prison sentence.

2nd Degree Felony

If an offender alleged trafficked 20,000 – 39,999 grams of marijuana, the charge will be a 2nd degree felony, which carries a mandatory 2 – 8 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

If the amount is 40,000 grams or above, the offender will be charged with a 2nd degree felony. Instead of a mandatory 2 – 8 years, the offender will face a mandatory 8 years in prison.

If the offense is committed near a school, the offense will be upgraded to a 1st degree felony, which carries a mandatory 11 year prison sentence and a $20,000 fine.

The following table summarizes the information above.

Trafficking in Marijuana

Amount in GramsChargeJail/Prison TimePresumption/Mandatory PrisonMaximum Fine
Less than 200 5th degree felony6 - 12 monthsNone$2500
200 - 9994th degree felony6 - 18 monthsNone$5000
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 Trafficking in Marijuana 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 and have any professional licenses (e.g., lawyers, nurses, teachers, etc.) suspended or revoked.

Ohio Defenses to Trafficking in Marijuana

Several defenses exist for trafficking in marijuana. These include unlawful search and seizure, lack of Miranda warnings, entrapment by law enforcement, and lack of intent.

The primary defense is lack of intent. Trafficking in marijuana is a specific intent offense that requires knowledge, purpose and action in furtherance of the crime. This requires that at the time of the offense, the prosecution must prove that you had the required criminal intent to commit the offense. Absent this intent, the prosecution will have difficulty proving their case and the charges may be dismissed.

Another common defense is 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.

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Marijuana Attorney

If you have been charged with trafficking in marijuana in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Attorney David Johnson at Johnson Legal, LLC to discuss your case. An experienced and knowledgeable marijuana attorney in Columbus and Delaware, Ohio 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 trafficking in marijuana case.