When Will Marijuana Be Legalized in Wisconsin?

If you find yourself arrested for any charge related to marijuana

With the movement to decriminalize marijuana now successful in 23 states plus Washington, D.C., many in Wisconsin are wondering when the Badger State will loosen its strict marijuana laws, or even make it legalized

Our advice is don’t get your hopes up and stay on the right side of the law.

A bill in the Senate seeks to eliminate penalties for possession, production and sale of up to 25 grams of marijuana by adults. But as the bill’s author, Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, tells the University of Wisconsin’s Badger Herald, Republicans who dominate the Senate and Assembly stand in the way of change.

Sargent and seven Democratic cosponsors introduced similar legislation last session, and that bill never even got a hearing, the Capitol Times explains.

Gov. Scott Walker weighed in against the bill last year, saying he saw no real movement for such a change in law, but did not comment for the Capitol Times’ story this year.

In the past, Walker has supported the theory that marijuana acts as a gateway drug for other more dangerous substances.

Walker did support and sign into law a 2014 bill to legalize the use of cannabidiol, or CBD, a marijuana derivative used to treat seizure disorders.

Four states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska – have legalized marijuana for recreational use. The District of Columbia legalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in February. Other states have passed medical marijuana laws and laws allowing for limited use of cannabis oil for medical reasons. Governing magazine has an interactive map of state marijuana laws.

But for now, marijuana users should keep in mind the penalties in Wisconsin that include up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for a first conviction for possessing any amount of marijuana. A second conviction could bring 3½ years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Penalties for selling or growing (production) marijuana are even harsher.

If you find yourself arrested for any charge related to marijuana, we urge you to get legal help right away. A conviction is costly immediately and into the future as potential employers and others review your criminal record.

Patrick Cafferty defends Wisconsin residents against marijuana possession, sale and production charges. Protect your rights by contacting the Cafferty & Scheidegger’s criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after any arrest.

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