As of December 7, Ohioans can legally possess limited amounts of marijuana, thanks to the voters’ approval of Issue 2 in November. However, there is some uncertainty with the new law as lawmakers debate and make last-minute revisions. With these changes, the state must grapple with issues, including enforcement considerations and driving under the influence implications.

What Is Issue 2?

Issue 2 is also known as the Marijuana Legalization Initiative. It was on the ballot for voters in this year’s election. The ballot measure was approved, and it has changed state laws. 

Issue 2 allows individuals to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in plant form or up to 15 grams in extract form. 

Along with that, it allows residents to cultivate plants at home. However, there are no regulations for recreational marijuana dispensaries until mid-2024. Now, the state has a gray area where possession is legal, but purchasing marijuana legally is not.

While Governor Mike DeWine has urged the General Assembly to pass regulations to expedite the legal sale of marijuana and address other issues, there is still a hold-up in the state. The Ohio Senate has proposed revisions to the law, but they need to be approved by the House and the governor.

Issues With Enforcement

With the passage of Issue 2, Ohio residents can cultivate at home, but there are limits. For example, Issue 2 allows six plants per adult and 12 per household. However, these plants can produce more than that limit. Additionally, homeowners are not allowed to sell any of the plants.  

Since there are no official policies from the state, law enforcement agencies still need guidelines for enforcing the new law.

There is an impact on traffic stops. With K-9 officers no longer using the smell of marijuana as sole probable cause, officers must rely on the odor of burnt marijuana or admission by the driver as an indicator of a crime. K-9 officers can still be used to detect marijuana if the driver says there is none in the vehicle. 

Driving Under the Influence

The issue of driving under the influence of marijuana raises more questions. Unlike alcohol, there is no standardized breathalyzer test for marijuana intoxication. Field sobriety tests do not reliably detect marijuana impairment. Police may resort to requesting urine samples, but it could still be challenging to determine recent use.

Federal Implications

Smoking marijuana is prohibited in indoor public places. Federal law still classifies marijuana as illegal. This means possession on federal property remains a crime. Federal employees are also prohibited from using cannabis products.

Also, employers can establish drug-free workplaces, prohibiting marijuana use by employees. Renters may face restrictions on marijuana use as landlords can include prohibitions in lease agreements. Federal law also bars individuals using marijuana from purchasing firearms.

Learn More About the Implications of Issue 2

As Ohioans celebrate the legalization of marijuana possession, the road ahead is clouded with uncertainties. The coming months will likely bring continued discussions, revisions, and adjustments as Ohio navigates the uncharted territory of legalized marijuana. 

If you would like to know whether the new laws could affect your case or have questions about these regulations, reach out to Hunt Law LLC. To arrange a free consultation, please contact us at 330-469-9836.