The state takes a strong stance against the possession and use of controlled substances. Convictions for drug crimes typically result in fines and incarceration. The law determines the severity of misdemeanor or felony charges based on the classification of controlled substances and the amount.
Law enforcement in Ohio often turn to field tests to identify substances suspected of being illegal drugs. A new lawsuit filed by a woman who sat in jail for three months calls into question the reliability of drug field tests. Her lawsuit has named a county board of commissioners, two deputies and Sirchie Acquisitions as the parties responsible for her unnecessary incarceration. Sirchie Acquisitions produced the drug test that supplied a false positive, which got her arrested on charges of methamphetamine trafficking when she only had a bag of cotton candy.
Ohio voters will have the opportunity to amend the state's constitution to change the way certain drug offenses are classified. If voters approve of the state's only ballet issue, low-level, non-violent possession charges would be considered a misdemeanor offense instead of a felony. The adjustment would mean individuals charged with crimes of this nature could no longer be sentenced to serve jail time in a state prison. Supporters and opponents have weighed in on the issue.
There are essentially are three different approaches to defense a person can take when facing drug possession charges. A person may use a procedural defense or may challenge the evidence in the case. There is also what is known as an "affirmative defense", which would include pointing out the legality in Ohio of using medical marijuana.
While Ohio's marijuana laws have loosened in recent years along with many other states across the country, the federal government still considers sale, possession and trafficking of marijuana to be illegal across the country. A growing number of states have also legalized medical marijuana, including Ohio. While dispensaries have not been established in the state, people who are eligible for medical marijuana can receive a patient identification card which can help to establish a defense in case a person is charged with a marijuana offense.
Four people in Ohio were arrested on March 20 on a number of drug charges. Three sisters, all from Hartford, and a man from Hawkesville, Kentucky, were arrested together at a Hartford home by local police. The four were arrested after detectives in the area found the man, 40, who was wanted on the basis of two outstanding warrants. While tracking his location, they found that he was inside a home located on U.S. 231.