Ohio Drug Testing Laws and Regulations



Statute of Order

Ohio Admin. Code §4123-17-58

Covered Employers

All employers.

Applicant Testing

Applicant testing is authorized with advance notice to applicant and after offer of employment has been made. An applicant who tests and confirmed positive will not be hired. He will be given the chance to explain his positive drug results. Applicant for a government job will not be hired for at least a year if he tests positive. Employee testing is authorized on reasonable suspicion of substance abuse, for new hires, after an accident, and as follow-up to a treatment program.

Conditions & Methods

Documentation showing chain of custody and confirming test in case of positive findings. Laboratory personnel are to check each specimen package for evidence of tampering. The employer must have a written policy statement.

Effects on Drug Testing in the Workplace

Ohio's medical marijuana law does not prohibit an employer from refusing to hire, or disciplining, discharging or doing appropriate actions to employees who use, possess, or distribute marijuana in the workplace. This law does not prohibit an employer from conducting drug testing in the workplace, and enforcing a zero-tolerance drug policy, or drug-free workplace policy.

Drug-Free Workplace Program

  • For complying with provisions of a Drug-Free Workplace Program, employers must pay for drug and alcohol testing. The only exception is for employee requested retests, which is at the employee’s expense unless the retest results come out negative. As such, the employer must pay for the cost of the retest.

  • The key components of the Bureau’s Drug-Free Workplace Program includes a written compliant policy statement, employee education, supervisor training, a five-panel drug and alcohol testing consistent with federal standards, and an employee assistance plan or at the minimum, a resource file whichever may be applicable.

  • Post-accident chemical testing for employees must be administered within eight hours of the injury for alcohol concentration tests. For controlled substances, the qualifying test must be conducted within thirty two hours of the employee’s injury.

  • State contractors working on public improvement projects as well as their subcontractors and lower-tier subcontractors are required to enroll and be in good standing with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s Drug-Free Workplace Program or similar programs approved by the Bureau. Non-compliance results in a breach of contract which may cause the contractors and subcontractors in violation to be adversely evaluated for future contracts up to a period of five years.

  • Administration of workers’ compensation may be adversely affected for testing positive or for refusal to submit to chemical testing provided that the employees were expressly notified in writing that the results of the test or refusal to undergo drug testing may affect the eligibility of the employee to receive benefits.

  • Employers aiming for bigger discount are enjoined to adopt a policy that calls for random testing of a minimum of 15% of their employees annually. These employers should be committed not to terminate an employee with a first-positive test results; who voluntarily admits his substance abuse trouble or has been referred for assessment by a supervisor.

  • Employees and job applicants have the right to question the legality of how their drug test was conducted; who was tested and the how the results of the drug test were used.

Ohio Medical Marijuana Law

House Bill 523 authorizes the use of marijuana for medical reasons. It also establishes the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.

Ohio may not be ready to be among the other states who approve of legalizing marijuana. On November 3, 2015, voters rejected the proposal favoring the legalization of both medical and recreational use of marijuana.

The House approved the HB on May 10, 2016 whereas the Senate passed the HB on May 25, 2016. Gov. John Kasich signed HB 523 into law on June 8, 2016, making the state of Ohio the 25th U.S. state to authorize the use and possession of medical marijuana for registered and qualified patients and caregivers. The passing of the bill was brought about as a response from the Ohio patient community as well as other NGOs campaigning for the passing of the bill.

Though the medical marijuana law becomes effective on September 8, 2016, it is likely that it will take a year to completely and fully implement the law. The Department of Commerce will form rules to efficiently oversee testing labs and cultivators. The State Medical Board has until September 6, 2017 to formulate and adopt rules to oversee physicians, whereas the Board of Pharmacy is tasked to take care of patient registry and marijuana dispensaries.

Medical Conditions for Marijuana Certificate

A patient must be diagnosed with one or more of the approved medical conditions, and must have a written recommendation from a qualified, state-approved physician. Other requirements are in-person physical examination, and pertinent paperwork to be submitted to the state by the physician. Other medical conditions may be added by the state medical board.

• Alzheimer's disease


• Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

• Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

• Cancer

• Crohn's disease

• Fibromyalgia

• Epilepsy

• Hepatitis C

• Glaucoma

• Inflammatory Bowel Disease

• Parkinson's Disease

• Multiple Sclerosis

• Chronic Pain


• Sickle Cell Anemia


• Spinal Cord Injury

• Tourette's Syndrome

• Ulcerative Colitis

• Brain Injury or Concussion


In Ohio’s pending marijuana medical law, registered and visiting qualifying patient who use cannabis for medical purpose, registered primary caregiver, cardholder, physician and other persons who are authorized though the Revised Code.

Quantity Allowed

Not more than 200 grams of usable marijuana and 12 mature marijuana plants.

How to Obtain

The qualifying patient and/or his registered primary caregiver may cultivate their own cannabis plant in a secure and registered area. Other means of procurement are not yet specified.

Liability Protection

Registered and visiting qualifying patient who use cannabis for medical purpose, registered primary caregiver, cardholder, physician and other persons who are authorized though the Revised Code are exempted from arrest, prosecution and civil/criminal penalty. Any property cannabis, related paraphernalia utilized in conjunction with the use of medical marijuana is exempted from being confiscated.

Statutory Requirements for Authorized Use

The Ohio Department of Health will verify all information in a patient’s application form, whether initial or renewal, for the issuance of a registry identification card. The health department has the prerogative to approve or deny application based on Chapter 119 of the Revised Code. A qualifying patient shall be issued a registry identification card five business days after application.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Ohio

Here is a step-by-step guide in securing a medical marijuana card in Ohio:

1. Find a medical marijuana doctor in Ohio.

A medical professional (doctor, physician assistant or advanced practice registered nurse) must certify your condition.

  • Get in touch with a certified Ohio medical marijuana doctor that will speak with you with regards to recommending medical marijuana.

  • Seek an appointment with your medical professional.

  • The recommendations for cannabis must come from and be submitted by an Ohio state-licensed and currently practicing physician.

  • Establish a doctor-patient relationship with the recommending physician.

2. Complete the form to be submitted to the Board of Pharmacy.

  • The complete physician recommendation for medical marijuana must be submitted to the Board of Pharmacy within 90 days. The document should state the diagnosis that qualifies for medical marijuana use in Ohio. The doctor’s office is responsible for filling out the complete registration form, and will submit it to the state of Ohio Board of Pharmacy for review.

  • The application fee, which the recommending doctor’s office will inform you of, should be paid to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.

  • Proof of residency is required and will be submitted at the same time as the physician’s recommendation form. The acceptable forms of proof of residency are:

    • A valid Ohio driver’s license

    • A valid Ohio identification card issued through the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV)

    • A valid U.S. passport or passport card

Restrictions for Marijuana Certificate

• Prohibits a registered patient to operate any vehicle, trackless trolley, streetcar, aircraft, or watercraft while under the influence of medical marijuana.

• Prohibits the use, possession, or administration of medical cannabis on any federal land in the state

• Does not require and prohibit any public place from accommodating a registered user.

• An employer may or may not accommodate the use, possession, and distribution of medical marijuana

• Smoking marijuana is not an acceptable treatment method.

• Private health insurance companies and government medical assistance programs are not obliged to reimburse expenses made in using medical marijuana, or any cost an employer made to accommodate the use of medical marijuana in the workplace.

Ohio Recreational Marijuana Law

There is still no pending bill for the legalization of marijuana in Ohio. State voters also rejected a ballot initiative in November 2018 to decriminalize marijuana possession. Such violations are treated as misdemeanors and therefore do not become a criminal record. There is a fine involved but no jail time.


• The no jail time provision is available only to first-time offenders

Penalties of Marijuana Possession in Ohio

Penalties for possessing marijuana depend on the amount of drug possessed. Possession penalties are as follows:

  • Up to 100 grams: Ohio legislature has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Violations in this range are minor misdemeanors, which means that there is no jail time involved and convictions are not included on a person’s a criminal record. However, violators may be fined up to $150.

  • 100 to 200 grams: Possession of marijuana in this weight range carries a misdemeanor charge with fines up to $250 and up to 30 days of incarceration.

  • 200 to 1,000 grams: Possession of this amount and above is a felony charge. Violators face fines of up to $2,500 and 1 year in jail.

  • 1,000 to 20,000 grams: Penalties include fines of between $5,000 and $10,000 and up to five years in prison.

  • 20,000 to 40,000 grams: Penalties include a minimum of five years in prison (maximum of eight years) and between $7,500 and $15,000 in fines.

  • 40,000 grams or more: Violators may be fined between $10,000 and $20,000 and incarceration for a minimum of eight years.

Possession of marijuana is a crime in Ohio, except for persons authorized to possess medical marijuana. These individuals may possess up to a 90-day supply of marijuana. However, they are not permitted to cultivate their own.

In addition, only the state Board of Pharmacy will provide a license to a limited number of growers and retail dispensaries.

Individuals who are in possession of more than 200g may be charged with felony. A conviction on charges of drugged driving carries a penalty between 3 days and six months in prison, plus a 6-month to 3-year driver’s license suspension.







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