Think a misdemeanor for marijuana is no big deal? You're wrong

With the passing of the recent medical marijuana law, many people will believe that getting caught with marijuana will be no big deal. Yet without proper documentation from a doctor, marijuana posession can lead to a misdemeanor. Although some people feel like they got out with a slap on the wrist, misdemeanor repercussions can last a lifetime.

Even though medical marijuana has been passed in Ohio, residents can get charged with a misdemeanor for having the following without a written statement from a physician:

  • Small amounts of marijuana: 200 grams or less
  • Small amounts of marijuana oil or hash: 5 grams or less of solid hash or 2 grams of liquid
  • Drug paraphernalia: including anything intended to be used to ingest marijuana

Immediate consequences for a misdemeanor

In a worst case scenario someone can receive a year in jail and $1,000 in fines for a misdemeanor. Many people plead for a misdemeanor and end up serving no jail time. Instead it is possible to be assigned different penalties such as parole, drug treatment, community service, etc.

One of the harsher results for possession of drug paraphernalia is getting your driver's license suspended from 6 months to 5 years. This has a huge impact on retaining a job and keeping up with your normal daily tasks.

Misdemeanors can affect your life indefinitely

After the penalties are paid a misdemeanor can still have echoing consequences.

Child placement

A misdemeanor can be a huge regret if you are battling for custody of your child. The court can use past offenses as evidence that the child would be better in the hands of someone else.

Future job prospects

A current and future employer can view your criminal record because they are public. If the employer is trying to decide between you and someone without a mark on their record then it might make their decision easier. Some employers have a zero tolerance policy and will deny you immediately. The following fields will be very difficult to enter for someone with a marijuana possession misdemeanor:

  • Most health care professions including nursing, radiology, pharmaceutical, paramedic, etc
  • Community professions such as community counselors, social workers, etc
  • Teaching positions
  • Dental care positions
  • Law enforcement positions

It is possible to seal your record

Without further action your tarnished record is an open book. It is possible to get your record sealed so that it is inaccessible to the public. In order to get a record sealed you will need to go to court and present a strong case. If you are looking to get your record sealed then it is best to contact an experienced attorney.


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