Legislation History

Ohio state legislators voted in favor of medical marijuana in House Bill 523 on May 25, 2016, which became effective September 8, 2016. HB 523 made the Department of Commerce responsible for developing any rules necessary for the implementation, administration, and enforcement of the program; license and regulate medical marijuana cultivators, processors and testing laboratories; and develop standards for cultivators, processors, dispensaries, and testing labs.  State officials developed a timeline to take each branch of the industry step by step and approached the program with caution to ensure a smooth transition into a legal medical marijuana industry.


The Department of Commerce set rules and regulations for cultivators on On May 6, 2017, and one year after passing HB 523, processors, testing laboratories, dispensaries, physician, and patient and caregivers rules were adopted.


Ohio’s patient registry will be available September 8, 2018.


House Bill 523 became effective on September 8, 2016, legalizing medical cannabis in Ohio. Under the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) patients with qualifying conditions upon the recommendation of a State Medical Board-certified physician to 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.  State laws regarding medical marijuana will be finalized by September 2018.


Where is it Safe to Purchase?

Ohio state law requires 500 feet between any marijuana business and a school, church, public library or public playground. Local governments can restrict or ban cultivators, processors, and dispensaries altogether.


Where is it Safe to Consume?

Marijuana can be consumed in a patient’s home by vaporizers, tinctures, oils, edibles, or patches. Under Ohio state law, medical marijuana patients with written permission from a certified physician can consume marijuana without going to jail. Though medical marijuana has been legal in Ohio since 2016, dispensaries have not been set up. The law requires the whole program to be operational by September 8, 2018.  


Possession & Cultivation Limits

In Ohio, patients who possess less than 100 grams, or 3.53 ounces, of marijuana will receive a minor misdemeanor charge with a $150 fine plus court fees, but no jail time. Patients with 100 to 199 grams, or 3.53 to 7.02 ounces, will face a 4th-degree misdemeanor charge and up to 30 days in jail and $250 plus court fees. Patients with 200 to 999 grams, or 7.05 to 35.24 ounces, will face  a 5th-degree felony charge and a fine of $2,500 plus court fees.


Ohio residents caught with 1 to 4.999 kilograms will receive a 3rd-degree felony charge with a sentence of up to 36 months in prison, and a $10,000 fine. Residents caught with 5 to 11.999 kilograms face a 3rd-degree felony charge with a sentence of of 36 months in prison. Residents caught with 20 to 39.999 kilograms face a 2nd-degree felony charge with a sentence of five (5) to eight (8) years in prison and $15,000 fine plus court fees. Possession of 40 kilograms or more could result in a mandatory eight (8) year prison term as well as a $15,000 fine plus court costs.


Neither patients nor elected caregivers can grow marijuana in their homes. Penalties for marijuana cultivation are identical to possession charges.


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


According to Ohio law, before medical marijuana may be dispensed, possessed, or administered, patients must be placed on the registry established by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. To qualify for placement on the registry, a prospective patient must also establish a health care relationship with a certified physician. A complete patient registration submission must be received by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy within 90 calendar days of the date on which the recommendation was created by the prospective patient’s recommending physician.


Patients are required include:


  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Proof of Ohio residency
  • Recommending physician’s certificate to recommend identification number issued by the state medical board
  • $50 registration fee


Ohio residents ages 18 and older may register with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to serve as a caregiver for a qualifying patient. The pharmacy 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.


To be placed on the state board of pharmacy, caregivers are required to include:

  • Government-issued ID
  • Identification of a patient who is registering or attempting to register
  • Completed caregiver registration
  • $25 registration fee


The recommending physician will submit the caregiver registration, along with the applicable caregiver fee, to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to ensure that the possible risks and benefits have been explained, understood, and agreed upon by the caregiver.  

Debilitating 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 anemia
  • 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.
  • Establish a bona fide physician-patient relationship.


The term “bona fide” is up to the discretion of the state of Ohio. More information on patient and caregiver registration can be found in the Ohio Administrative Code.

Registry Identification Card

Ohio patients who qualify for medical marijuana will receive a medical marijuana card of “affirmative defense” card issued by the state of Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP). There are no identification cards being issued by the MMCP; cards will be issued by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy when the state’s patient registry becomes available in September 2018.



Ohio does not accept medical marijuana cards issued outside the state.

Lab Testing

The Ohio Department of Commerce accepts testing lab applications from public and privately held 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 medical marijuana products to test for contaminants and perform research and development  analyses to facilitate the development of novel strains and improved cultivation techniques.


Marijuana products are tested for:

  • Cannabinoids
  • Microbiological contaminants
  • Terpenes


This page was last updated on June 26, 2018.