With a quick step over the Wisconsin border to Michigan’s upper peninsula, marijuana goes from fully illegal to completely legalized. Recreational pot is also legal in Canada and has been partially decriminalized in Minnesota. All around Wisconsin, cannabis is available for legal recreation and/or medical use, but Wisconsin residents must proceed with caution. Legally purchasing medical or recreational pot in another state or country does not mean the marijuana becomes legal in Wisconsin. Transporting marijuana over state or international borders is actually a federal drug offense and illegal in Wisconsin. In fact, possession of marijuana is a felony in all but limited circumstances, and Wisconsin has some of the most repressive marijuana laws in North America.
Wisconsin has some of the strictest marijuana prohibitions in the country, and residents shouldn’t take Brown County marijuana possession, sale, or delivery charges lightly. Avoid serious Wisconsin felony drug charges for marijuana cultivation, possession, sale, and delivery with the help of Outagamie County’s top-rated drug defense lawyers at Hogan Eickhoff. Contact our marijuana possession and sale defense lawyers today at (920) 450-9800 or online for a free, confidential Wisconsin drug defense consultation.
Overview of Wisconsin Marijuana Possession & Trafficking Laws
Despite recent attempts to decriminalize marijuana in Wisconsin, marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance in the Badger State. Wisconsin marijuana arrests actually account for more than half of all drug-related arrests in the state, and even a first-time, non-violent marijuana conviction may result in prison, hefty fines, loss of employment, and housing discrimination. The following is illegal in Wisconsin:
- Manufacturing, cultivating, planting, and/or growing marijuana plants
- Importing marijuana or a marijuana-related substance, such as CBD Oil, Hashish Oil, Hashish, synthetic cannabinoids, or products containing compounds derived from marijuana, into Wisconsin
- Selling or trading any amount of marijuana to another, including compounds containing or derived from marijuana
- Transporting, delivering, or distributing any amount of marijuana or compounds containing or derived from marijuana
- Possessing or controlling marijuana or a related substance
- Driving under the influence of marijuana
- Transporting marijuana across state or country borders
A first-time marijuana possession offense in Wisconsin is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months of imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Any subsequent marijuana-related possession offense is a felony in Wisconsin punishable by up to 3.5 years of imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000 regardless of weight or amount. Even the cultivation of a single marijuana plant is a felony in Wisconsin, as is the sale and/or delivery of any amount of marijuana. Penalties increase based on the amount of marijuana discovered and the requisite intent of the possessor, i.e., sale or personal use.
Federal Marijuana Possession & Trafficking Laws
Despite recent changes to state law, marijuana and its analogs are covered by the federal Controlled Substance Act. Federal prosecutors have full authority to punish and prosecute federal drug offenses in Wisconsin and surrounding states. Federal law may trump state law, and federal jurisdiction is triggered if marijuana is transported over state lines. While the Department of Justice typically defers to state prosecutors and seldom enforces federal marijuana prohibitions in states where pot is legal, the laws don’t conflict in Wisconsin. Both federal and state prosecutors are free to file marijuana charges against a defendant in possession of any amount of cannabis. Federal marijuana penalties may include mandatory minimum sentences of 5 to 10 years of imprisonment, and there is no parole or suspended sentences in the federal system. Those charged with a federal drug offense in Wisconsin should immediately contact an experienced Wisconsin federal drug crimes defense lawyer at Hogan Eickhoff.
Possible Direct and Collateral Penalties for Violating Wisconsin Marijuana Laws
Even a non-violent drug offense can mean harsh direct and collateral consequences for Wisconsin defendants. Direct penalties include imprisonment, hefty fines, probation, and temporary loss of a driver’s license with the severity of these penalties measured by the offender’s intent and the amount of marijuana discovered. Examples include:
- Up to 3.5 years of imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine for selling or delivering even 1 gram of marijuana or cultivating a single marijuana plant in Wisconsin
- Up to 15 years of imprisonment and/or a $50,000 fine for cultivating more than 200 marijuana plants in Wisconsin or selling more than 10,000 grams of marijuana in Wisconsin
- A mandatory minimum sentence of 5 or 10 years of imprisonment, with up to 40 years of imprisonment, for trafficking and/or possessing over 100 plants or 100 kg of marijuana in Wisconsin federal court
Despite these harsh penalties, it’s the potential life-long collateral consequences of a drug conviction that truly harm Wisconsin offenders. These include the following even for non-violent, misdemeanor marijuana offenders:
- Loss of or inability to obtain recreational or occupational licenses (e.g., hunting, fishing, nursing, law)
- Temporary loss of personal or commercial driver’s license
- Loss of visitation and/or familial rights
- Loss of or difficulty obtaining employment
- Difficulty obtaining financial aid or admission to college
- Difficulty obtaining or loss of business licenses
- Difficulty obtaining housing, including renting an apartment, qualifying for federal or state housing aid, and/or obtaining financing to purchase a home
- Residency restrictions
- Loss of or inability to qualify for certain government benefits
- Inability to vote and loss of certain civil rights
- Loss of firearms rights
Many of the direct and indirect consequences of a Wisconsin drug conviction can be avoided with the help of a qualified marijuana possession and trafficking criminal defense attorney. Negotiating the right plea deal or moving to exclude illegally obtained evidence may mean the difference between exoneration and the life-long consequences of a Wisconsin marijuana conviction.
Contact an Experienced Appleton Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Drug evidence, especially marijuana evidence, is often seized during illegal vehicular searches or “stop and frisks.” Getting illegally seized marijuana evidence excluded from consideration at trial often results in a dismissal of serious Wisconsin marijuana charges. Avoid the severe direct and collateral consequences of Wisconsin’s federal and state marijuana laws with the help of Hogan Eickhoff’s top-rated criminal drug defense lawyers. Begin your Wisconsin marijuana charges defense today online or by calling (920) 450-9800 for your free, confidential drug defense consultation.