YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In spite of the slogan from popular TV ads, those taking advantage of Nevada’s newly relaxed marijuana laws may find that effects of their pot use could follow them home.
“You could come back to Ohio, operate a motor vehicle, be stopped by a law enforcement officer, and still be over the legal limit in Ohio even though you used it legally elsewhere,” said Atty. Jay Macejko, a defense lawyer.
Nevada recently became the latest state in the union to permit recreational pot use.
Although Ohio voters have approved the use of medicinal marijuana, the laws won’t go into effect for at least another year. Mahoning County Sheriff’s Det. Ty Hyshaw said that means if you go to another state where marijuana is legal, the rules still apply if you get tested for drugs in Ohio.
THC — the chemical contained in marijuana products — can remain in your system for a month or more, depending on usage. That could be especially troublesome for people returning to their jobs in Ohio.
“Employers can still mandate a drug-free workplace. Employers can still subject employees to random drug testing and by statute, now, if you are terminated for drug use, it’s actually ‘for cause,'” Macejko said.
Traveling with the drug is another issue. Macejko said airlines won’t let passengers fly with it and that police in areas bordering states with relaxed laws may target out-of-state vehicles suspected of transporting it.
“There is simply no legal way to transport it back to Ohio and that includes not only the marijuana substance but edibles, and the vapes or the smoking mechanisms that they’re using out there.”
Since federal law still lists marijuana as an illegal narcotic, Macejko said it will literally take an act of Congress to reconcile states that allow pot use with those that don’t.