Proponents of legalizing medical marijuana in Wisconsin made their case at a public hearing last month. Unintentionally but appropriately on 4/20. As their bill is written, medical marijuana would be available through a certified provider for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder – but that is open to expansion.
While polls have consistently shown broad and increasing support for both medical and recreational marijuana legalization in Wisconsin, Republican legislators have continuously blocked any efforts to change the law. All four of our bordering states have legalized marijuana, two for medical purposes (Minnesota and Iowa) and two for recreational use (Illinois and Michigan). You can easily drive across the Illinois border to obtain weed (and many do) but upon returning, you’ll be breaking the law.
Thirty-six states in total have passed laws allowing access to medical marijuana to patients with certain medical conditions, under a doctor’s supervision. Eighteen have legal recreational marijuana. Many states have decriminalized marijuana. The House even passed a bill in April to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
This past session in Wisconsin there were bills from Democrats and Republicans that would legalize medical marijuana, from Democrats that would also legalize it for recreational use, and a bipartisan measure that would decriminalize the possession of marijuana. However, all of those measures died when the Legislature adjourned its session in February. The next possible passage of a bill to legalize won’t be until 2023.
Meanwhile, marijuana sales and possession are both still a crime in Wisconsin.
It is illegal to sell any amount of marijuana in Wisconsin, including possession with the intent to sell. Penalties depend on the amount possessed, cultivated, or sold. The more marijuana you possess with the intent to sell or deliver, the longer the potential prison term and the higher the fine. If you are caught in possession of marijuana, and it is your first offense, it is considered a misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Subsequent offenses are felonies with much harsher penalties. Sometimes possession of small amounts of marijuana are treated as municipal violations, which are non-criminal and carry only monetary fines. Paraphernalia, which includes any item that will assist in the cultivation, distribution, ingestion, or inhalation of marijuana, is also illegal. This offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 or a month in jail.
If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana, you should check with qualified, knowledgeable attorneys, such as Cafferty & Scheidegger, to determine exactly what your situation is. It can be confusing if you don’t have experience in this area.
From our offices in Racine Wisconsin, the criminal defense lawyers at Cafferty & Scheidegger defend the rights of people charged with state and federal criminal offenses throughout Southeastern Wisconsin (Racine, Kenosha, Walworth). If you or a loved one is charged with a crime, contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced Racine federal criminal defense attorney right away. For urgent matters, you are welcome to call or text us 24 hours a day at (262) 632-5000.
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