Ohio recently joined the ranks of states legalizing recreational marijuana possession and use. The passage of Issue 2 in the November election led to the initiation of this law on December 7. However, there are lingering issues within the legislation that policymakers must address.
Some Ohio residents might encounter unjust DUI charges, while others seek to have recent possession charges dismissed. Explore defense attorney Joe Suhre’s insights into the emerging challenges posed by this law below.
Despite the legalization of marijuana in Ohio, challenges persist in refining the DUI screening process. Unlike alcohol, there is no marijuana breathalyzer; instead, impairment levels are gauged through a urine test. Notably, a urine test can yield positive results for up to thirty days after marijuana use, extending beyond the period of impairment.
While individuals have the right to refuse a urine test, opting out results in an automatic one-year license suspension. Nevertheless, Joe Suhre advises refusing the test, emphasizing, “I would rather have an administrative license suspension and be found not guilty of a DUI than to end up giving the prosecution evidence.”
Recent Possession Convictions
The impact of the law extends beyond post-December 7 marijuana use. Individuals charged (but not yet convicted) with marijuana possession may have the opportunity to get their cases dismissed.
Suhre says, “My experience has been generally speaking with prosecutors’ offices and with courts that have been cases pending for conduct that subsequently becomes legal… generally speaking, it’s able to be resolved successfully. In other words, my experience has been that they’ll generally dismiss it now. But that’s not a guarantee.”
Despite recreational marijuana legalization in Ohio, various restrictions persist. Marijuana remains federally illegal, prohibiting possession on federal property. Federal employees and those working for employers with anti-marijuana policies may still face drug tests and legal consequences for positive results.
Ohio’s indoor smoking ban prohibits marijuana use indoors, and some landlords may restrict it on their properties. Additionally, federal law bars marijuana users from obtaining firearms, with false statements during the purchase process considered a felony.
Guarding Against Wrongful Convictions
While marijuana possession and use are legal in Ohio, wrongful convictions persist. Due to marijuana’s extended presence in urine tests, individuals could face DUI charges even days after use. Moreover, certain locations in the state, such as federal properties and specific rental properties, still deem marijuana possession illegal.
If you are fighting a marijuana-related conviction, be it for possession or DUI, contact Suhre & Associates, LLC. As your DUI and criminal defense attorneys, we are committed to defending your rights. Schedule a free consultation with us today to discuss your case.