You Can Still Face Serious Marijuana Charges

Find out from a Racine criminal defense lawyer about how you can still face serious marijuana charges if you use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Legislators in cities, municipalities and states across the U.S. have been pushing hard to get proposals for the decriminalization of marijuana on the November ballets. While Wisconsin does not currently have any laws legalizing marijuana for broad medicinal or recreational purposes, as the Huffington Post reported back in April, our state was on track to become one of the first to legalize a marijuana extract known as cannabidiol (CBD). Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law making it legal to use this particular type of medical marijuana solely for the treatment of rare seizure disorders in children. No other bill has passed. Assembly Bill 480 and Senate Bill 363 were written to legalize medical marijuana statewide, however both died when the legislature adjourned in April 2014.

Other municipalities in neighboring states have been pushing hard for the local decriminalization of marijuana. As reported by Michigan Live, two more metropolitan communities have recently been added to the growing list of cities that opted to decriminalize marijuana. While this move is widely touted as a major step towards statewide decriminalization, this does not mean individuals in these cities will be free and clear from facing serious marijuana drug charges. The cultivation, sale, distribution, possession, transportation or use of more than one ounce of marijuana by an individual over the age of 21 is still against the law. In addition, state police still have it within their power to detain and arrest, or issue citations under state law, to those who are found with any amount of marijuana in their possession.

What types of marijuana drug penalties could I face?

The possession and distribution of marijuana, along with many other illegal drugs, is closely regulated by state and federal law. If you are found to be driving under the influence of marijuana or you have marijuana in your possession, you could be facing jail time and other serious penalties. Here are the types of marijuana drug charges and penalties you could face in Wisconsin:

  • Possession of less than one ounce, first-time offense: Fines up to $1,000 and a maximum of six months in jail
  • Possession of less than one ounce, subsequent offenses: Fines up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to three years and six months
  • Cultivation and sale: Penalties will be in direct correlation to the volume of grams or number of plants found. On the low end, less than 200 grams or fewer than four plants is punishable by up to $10,000, along with up to three and a half years in prison. On the high end, more than 10,000 grams or greater than 200 plants could lead to fines up to $25,000 and up to 15 years in prison. Additional penalties and charges may apply if the marijuana is cultivated or sold in a drug-free zone or sold to a minor.
  • Drug paraphernalia: Penalties for possession of drug paraphernalia include fines no greater than $500 and a maximum of 30 days jail time. Selling paraphernalia will lead to much harsher penalties, including up to $10,000 fines and nine months in prison for sale to a minor who is at least three years younger than the alleged seller.

As it currently stands, there is no statewide legislation pending which would allow for the decriminalization of marijuana for either medicinal purposes or recreational use. This does not mean a proposal will not be on the November ballot. In the meantime, if you are arrested for a drug charge involving marijuana, you are advised to retain counsel from a skilled attorney at Cafferty & Scheidegger, S.C. right away. We can help you assess your current legal situation and determine the course of action that is most likely to improve your chances of avoiding a criminal conviction. Call us now to get started.

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