Wisconsin Marijuana Laws and Penalties

Recently, the United States House of Representatives approved legislation that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and remove penalties for certain cannabis related crimes. Typically, the decriminalization of marijuana would mean no arrest, jail time, or conviction for first time possession charges. In most decriminalized states, offenses are treated like a minor violation. The bill now moves on to the senate, where it faces an uncertain outlook.

In Wisconsin, people are still being prosecuted for marijuana related charges despite the recent state and federal wide push towards decriminalization. Depending on how much marijuana someone has in their possession, the charge can be treated along the lines of any other controlled substance charge which can entail harsh consequences. These consequences can be high fines or jail time. Even worse, in certain circumstances, marijuana charges can be considered a felony in Wisconsin. However, if it is someone's first time being criminally prosecuted for possession of marijuana, it is considered a misdemeanor. Although District Attorneys have discretion on whether to prosecute possession of THC, and how severely to charge, many of them still ignore the public sentiment and prosecute THC offenses to their full capabilities.


Even a misdemeanor charge for possession of THC means you could face a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. With a subsequent offense, you could be charged with a felony, face up to 3.5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. In addition to those penalties, you may lose your driver’s license for up to five years. If you are a student, you could lose up to 100% of your federal financial aid money along with grants and scholarships.


While the laws prohibiting the consumption of marijuana have been relaxing around the country, the use or possession of marijuana/THC is still illegal in Wisconsin for any reason. There are many people in Wisconsin that believe medical marijuana is legal since, in 2014, Governor Scott Walker signed a law to legalize certain children’s medicine containing a derivative of marijuana. However, the medicine referenced in that law contained only very miniscule levels of THC and could not be classified as “Medical Marijuana.” Therefore, even if a person has been medically prescribed marijuana in another state, it becomes contraband if brought to Wisconsin. Marijuana is a schedule I controlled substance in Wisconsin, which places it in the same category as LSD, Heroin, and PCP.


If you or someone you know has been charged with a marijuana related criminal offense, it may be advisable to seek a Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorney, as there are various defenses available. If convicted, a marijuana charge can stay on your record forever. If you have been charged with any level of a drug charge, contact Levine Eisberner LLC at 608-621-2888 for a consultation.