Legislative History

Medical cannabis is legal thanks to House Bill 523, which passed and became effective Sept. 8, 2016. HB 523 made the Ohio Department of Commerce (ODOC) responsible for developing rules for the implementation, administration, and enforcement of the program, to license and regulate medical marijuana cultivators, processors and testing laboratories, and develop standards for cultivators, processors, dispensaries, and testing labs.  The ODOC set rules and regulations for cultivators on May 6, 2017, and one (1) year after HB 523 passed, rules were adopted to cover processors, testing laboratories, dispensaries, physicians, patients, and caregivers.


The Ohio Medical Marijuana Patient Registry reopened in December 2018 after being put on hold in July 2018 due to anticipated unavailability of cannabis. Retail locations have not yet opened, but before they can stock cannabis products, regulations for lab testing must be developed. It is likely the system will be up and running by 2019, but no firm estimate has been provided.


Under the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP), patients with qualifying conditions, upon the recommendation of a State Medical Board-certified physician, can purchase and use medical marijuana. The Ohio Department of Commerce, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy and the Ohio Medical Board are responsible for setting the laws and regulations for the MMCP.

Where is it Safe to Purchase and Consume?

Ohio law requires 500 feet between any marijuana business and a school, church, public library or public playground. However, local governments have the power to restrict or ban cultivators, processors, and dispensaries.


Cannabis can be consumed in a home by vaporizers, tinctures, oils, edibles or patches. While medical marijuana has been legal in Ohio since 2016, dispensaries have not been set up. The state missed its goal to have the medical marijuana program operational by Sept. 8, 2018.  

Possession & Cultivation Limits

How Old Do I Need
to Be to Consume?
Possession Limit
for Flower
Possession Limit
for Concentrates

Medical Marijuana Program

Qualifying Conditions

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Pain that is either chronic and severe, or intractable
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Spinal cord disease or injury
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis

Application Process

To register with the MMCP, patients must:

  • be an Ohio resident
  • be diagnosed with a qualifying debilitating medical condition by a doctor with a Certificate to Recommend from the State Medical Board
  • register with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, and
  • establish and maintain a bona fide physician-patient relationship.

Ohio patients who qualify for medical marijuana will receive a medical marijuana card for affirmative defense issued by the MMCP. Cards are expected to be issued by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy as the state’s patient registry becomes available. Ohio residents ages 18 and older may register with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to serve as a caregiver for a qualifying patient. The board may permit an individual to serve as a caregiver for more than two patients, and for a patient to designate more than two caregivers. A caregiver may not be the patient’s physician or registered in an offender database.

Lab Testing

The Ohio Department of Commerce accepts testing lab applications from public and private universities. The department will continue to review testing lab applications and award licenses once reviews are completed. Laboratory applications are restricted to Ohio public institutions of higher education. There is no limit to the number of testing licenses that may be awarded by the department. The state requires certified cannabis labs to collect random samples from batches of harvested plant material or finished marijuana products to test for contaminants and perform research and development analyses to facilitate the development of novel strains and improved cultivation techniques. Products are tested for:

  • cannabinoids
  • heavy metal contamination
  • microbiological contaminants
  • moisture content
  • pesticide and fertilizer residue
  • terpenes

This page was last updated on January 7, 2019.