We have now reached a point where CBD oil is available in almost every location in the United States. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the growth of industrial hemp with a maximum of 0.3% THC. While the federal government hasn’t officially legalized any cannabinoids, there is an acknowledgment in most states that CBD is here to stay.
However, there are a handful of states where county and local laws cause confusion. Also, some governors and attorney generals are intent on adding to the complexity surrounding CBD laws. As such, residents of some states aren’t quite sure if they can legally buy cannabidiol.
That’s why we have created our series of guides to help keep you informed. Today, we take a look at whether CBD oil is legal in Ohio. First, however, let’s learn more about the state’s stance on marijuana.
What Are the Marijuana Laws in Ohio?
Ohio was one of the first states in the modern era to decriminalize simple cannabis possession. It did so in 1975, and it remains one of the most lenient laws around. Most states that have decriminalized marijuana possession placed the limit at an ounce. Ohio, however, allows adults to possess up to 3.5 ounces before it becomes a serious offense. Otherwise, you receive a minor misdemeanor charge and pay a fine of up to $150.
Marijuana advocates in Ohio made a bold bid to try and legalize recreational weed in 2015. However, Issue 3, as it was known, was defeated at the polls. One reason was that it seemed like an attempt to monopolize cannabis sale and distribution. Neither the Marijuana Policy Project nor the Drug Policy Alliance endorsed the ballot measure.
In 2016, Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 532 into law. It legalized medical marijuana in Ohio. MMJ patients can have up to eight ounces of Tier 1 (mid-grade) cannabis as their maximum 90-day supply. This limit falls to 5.3 ounces for higher quality Tier II cannabis. The Ohio MMJ program has other, rather confusing limits, which we outline in our guide to getting a medical marijuana card in the state.
Realistically, it seems a matter of time before Ohio legalizes recreational cannabis. Until then, however, you can still get into trouble for breaking the state’s marijuana laws.
Cannabis Penalties in Ohio
The possession of between 100 and 200 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor. You could spend up to 30 days in prison if convicted. The possession of over 200 grams is a felony with the potential for a one-year jail term. You could spend up to five years in prison if caught with over 1,000 grams.
It is illegal to provide cannabis ‘gifts.’ Two convictions for gifts of under 20 grams is a misdemeanor punishable by up to two months in jail. Moreover, the sale of any amount of marijuana is a felony in Ohio. If convicted, you could serve up to 12 months in prison. The length of imprisonment increases according to the amount you sell.
The possession of over 200 grams of cannabis in Ohio is a felony, with a potential prison sentence of one year.
Even MMJ patients are not permitted to cultivate cannabis in Ohio. The state severely punishes individuals caught growing the plant. The penalties for growing are the same as for possession in terms of volume. For instance, if you grow five plants and yield 80 ounces, you’re considered to possess 80 ounces of marijuana. That’s a felony by Ohio state law with a possible prison term of up to five years.
Is CBD Oil Permitted in Ohio?
If you have an MMJ card, you can easily benefit from CBD regardless of whether it comes from hemp or marijuana. As long as you remain within the program’s possession limits, you’ll have no problems whatsoever.
However, it is a different story for individuals without a medical marijuana card. The good news, at least, is that Ohio residents can use CBD oil. However, the product(s) in question must come from hemp and contain a maximum of 0.3% THC.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp throughout the nation. States had to submit a plan to the USDA or go along with federal guidelines. It was great news for hemp growers, but the legislation didn’t explicitly legalize CBD. Each state is free to create its own cannabidiol rules, though few have done so.
In Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine signed SB 57 into law in July 2019. It legalized the possession, purchase, and sale of hemp and products derived from hemp. According to Ohio state law, SB 57 defined hemp, hemp products and emphasized that it is a distinct plant from marijuana. The bill put to rest any concerns about CBD being legal in Ohio.
SB 57 followed federal law by outlining that hemp in Ohio must have a maximum of 0.3% THC by dry weight. Otherwise, it is considered marijuana and is illegal. State law also mandates that all growers and processors of hemp are licensed, and their CBD products must be tested.
As long as a CBD product contains a maximum of 0.3% THC, it is legal for sale and use with no possession limits.
Industrial Hemp in Ohio
Thus far, the hemp industry in Ohio has not taken off. Apart from legalizing CBD products, SB 57 also included provisions for growing industrial hemp. Individuals applying for a cultivation license must not have a conviction for a drug-related charge in the last ten years. All licenses are valid for three years.
Despite the enthusiasm for hemp legalization, the Ohio Department of Agriculture received fewer than 200 applications for hemp growing for the 2020 growing season. The lack of applicants is probably due to the realization that hemp isn’t as easy or lucrative to grow as commonly believed.
Also, gross income for hemp across the United States fell from $75,000 per acre in 2018 to $20,000 the following year. As it can cost up to $15,000 per acre to plant the crop and get it to market, profit margins are thin. Then there is a huge degree of competition which means farmers may not sell their crop.
The industrial hemp program in Ohio has not taken off as expected due to the high costs and level of labor involved.
They also have to pay for testing and lose an entire crop if the hemp shows THC levels even slightly above 0.3%. In 2020, the Ohio Department of Agriculture tested over 280 samples, 20 of which had excessive THC levels.
Farmers are unhappy at the seemingly arbitrary THC figure. The 0.3% level comes from a 1976 study that mapped different hemp strains. One of them remained below 0.3% THC, thus setting what was probably an unintended precedent.
Where to Buy CBD Oil in Ohio?
Unlike many other states, Ohio doesn’t have the benefit of major drugstore chains selling hemp-derived CBD. Residents need to look for products at health food stores and local pharmacies. However, such items are potentially very expensive and not necessarily of the highest quality.
It is a far better idea to go online and look for CBD from reputable online vendors. Stick with brands that provide third-party lab reports with every batch of products.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil in Ohio
MMJ is legal in Ohio, and the program is becoming well-established. Recreational cannabis legalization may happen within the next few years. Until then, residents can purchase CBD oil in Ohio. The cannabinoid is legal for sale, possession, and use as long as it comes from hemp and contains a maximum of 0.3% THC.
Unfortunately, the industrial hemp program in Ohio is having difficulties at present. Increasing competition, along with the high cost of growing hemp, not to mention the amount of labor involved, means many Ohio farmers are steering clear.
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