Wisconsin Cannabis Law

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A Guide to Wisconsin Cannabis Laws

Cannabis/Weed is illegal for recreational use in Wisconsin. A first offense for possession of any amount comes with penalties of up to 6 months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines. Any subsequent offenses are considered felonies and come with up to 3.5 years in jail and/or $10,000 in fines. In Wisconsin, the maximum penalty for possession of drug paraphernalia (pipe, bong, needle, etc.) is 30 days in jail and a $500.00 fine. Fines may increase to include prison and jail time for intent to distribute charges.

Possession of THC, possession of drug paraphernalia, intent to distribute marijuana, growing marijuana, and keeping a drug house are all illegal in Wisconsin and come with harsh consequences. If you’ve been charged with possession, you need an experienced Milwaukee drug charge attorney. Below you’ll find a summary of Wisconsin marijuana laws and the penalties for a variety of charges.

Medical Marijuana Coming to Wisconsin?

  • As of now, medical marijuana in Wisconsin is only available to those with a written letter from a physician and cannot produce any psychoactive effects. These restrictions mean Wisconsin medical marijuana is limited to CBD. Wisconsin Senator Jon Erpenbach (D- Middleton) and Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) have introduced legislation seeking to provide qualified patients with legal access to medical cannabis with a physician’s authorization. The proposed bills would allow for possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana and up to 12 plants.

Is recreational use of cannabis legal in Wisconsin?

  • Currently, recreational use of marijuana is not legal in Wisconsin.

What are the penalties for possession of marijuana/THC in Wisconsin?

  • For first time offenders, possession of 200 grams or less of marijuana or THC (which can be in the form of edibles, wax, oils, dabs, etc.) is generally a misdemeanor and can carry penalties of up to six months in jail and a fine of a thousand dollars plus court fees. In addition, you will likely lose your driving privileges for five years, and if you’re a college student, conviction can affect your eligibility for financial aid.
  • Additional instances of marijuana/THC possession could constitute felony charges, 3.5 years of jail time, and a $10,000 fine.
  • It’s important to note that if you are found guilty of possession of marijuana/THC within a thousand feet of a school, park, or other areas in Wisconsin, you may also face 100 hours of community service on top of the penalties enumerated above. In addition, if you were driving a vehicle or in possession of a firearm when you were arrested, you can face additional charges with additional penalties.

What if I’m found guilty of intent to distribute?

  • Penalties are likely to be more severe than those detailed above if an individual is found guilty of intent to distribute. Possession of any amount of marijuana/THC over 200 grams is considered intent to sell. Intent to sell can also be inferred by the presence of a scale, plastic baggies or other items that suggest you are intending to separate the marijuana into small quantities consistent with a sale.

What are the penalties for possession of drug paraphernalia in Wisconsin?

  • In Wisconsin, individuals convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia such as pipes or bongs could face a maximum of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Those found guilty of misdemeanor selling or distributing paraphernalia could face 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine — unless you’re found guilty of selling paraphernalia to a minor, which carries a jail sentence of up to nine months and a fine of up to $10,000.

Is medical marijuana legal in Wisconsin?

  • As of now, medicinal cannabis use is not legal in Wisconsin. However, there are indications the Wisconsin legislature is moving closer to reconsidering. CBD or medical marijuana that does not produce any psychoactive effects is available to patients with a letter from a physician.

Is it legal for me to possess THC in Wisconsin if I have a prescription from another state?

  • It is not legal for an individual to possess THC in Wisconsin, even if they have a prescription from a state where medical marijuana is legalized. In Wisconsin, THC is considered a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance, for which there are no accepted medical applications in the state.

How long does a marijuana conviction stay on my record in Wisconsin?

  • This is a complicated question. If you’re convicted of a noncriminal forfeiture for possession of marijuana, this may appear on CCAP for five years. It may not appear on CCAP at all depending on where your arrest occurred and the court that sentenced you.
  • If you’re convicted of a crime, are under 25 years old at the time of your conviction and you successfully complete your sentence, you may qualify for expungement. If you’re convicted of a misdemeanor crime in Wisconsin, the conviction will appear on CCAP for 20 years. If you are convicted of felony possession, the conviction will appear on CCAP for 75 years. Even if you get to the point where your case no longer appears on CCAP, it does not mean that there is no record of the arrest or conviction — it simply means that it isn’t easily searchable by the general public.
  • If you were found guilty of a felony related to marijuana (or any other felony for that matter) more than five years ago, you may qualify for a governor’s pardon.

It’s not just brownies anymore

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) products, including gummies, oils, creams, chocolates, and even beer, proliferate in Wisconsin. Under the Agricultural Act of 2018 (sometimes called the “2018 Farm Bill”), hemp and hemp products (including CBD oil extracted from hemp plants) are not controlled substances, provided that they are grown pursuant to a federal or state-approved plan and contain less than .3% delta-9-THC, the main cannabinoid responsible for the “high” of marijuana. The 2018 law followed the Agricultural Act of 2014 (“2014 Farm Bill”), which permitted hemp pilot projects, including one in Wisconsin. Last month, Wisconsin turned its state-approved plan over to the USDA, becoming one of the first states to do so. Because CBD products are legal at the federal level, Wisconsin employers should craft their drug policies in light of Wisconsin law protecting employee off-work use of lawful products while also ensuring compliance with federal regulations and communicating to workers that the use of lawful CBD products will not excuse a positive drug test for marijuana.


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