No. Marijuana remains illegal in Wisconsin for both recreation and medical use. Wisconsin has some of the firmest anti-marijuana laws in the United States. Canada, Michigan, and now Illinois all permit recreational marijuana possession and use. As such, many first-time offenders unassumingly bring marijuana into the state without considering the consequences.
Marijuana accounts for nearly half of all reported drug arrests in Outagamie, Brown, and Winnebago Counties. If Wisconsin prosecutors charged you with possessing marijuana, immediately contact the criminal defense lawyers at Hogan Eickhoff at (920) 450-9800 or online for a free and confidential Appleton drug defense consultation.
Laws Prohibiting Marijuana Possession in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Code § 961.01(14) defines marijuana as any and every part of the cannabis plant, including seeds, resin, and any other compounds. Even possessing a cannabis plant that has not sprouted qualifies as possessing marijuana in the state. Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance in Wisconsin, which means Wisc. Code § 961.41 prohibits all of the following:
- Possessing any amount of marijuana or a synthetic analog, i.e., spice, for personal use
- Attempting to possess marijuana, which includes buying, selling, negotiating for, or going to pick up a cannabis-derived product
- Planting or cultivating cannabis plants
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana, an analog, or a cannabis-related product
- Bringing, ordering, or importing weed or products derived from marijuana into the state
- Transporting pot
- Delivering, selling, sharing, or distributing marijuana to another person or entity
- Transporting cannabis from one place to another
Wisconsin Code § 961.41(3g) states that only a person with a valid prescription or legal authorization may possess a schedule I controlled substance. However, marijuana has limited medical uses in the state. Physicians may only prescribe certain types of CBD products to a limited class of seizure patients in Wisconsin. Speak with a CBD lawyer today with questions about this process.
Potential Federal Charges for Transporting Marijuana into Wisconsin
The Federal Controlled Substance Act prohibits marijuana possession in the United States. However, federal prosecutors do not enforce these laws in states permitting recreational marijuana. They will, however, enforce federal drug regulations in Wisconsin’s federal trial courts if an offender transports cannabis across state lines. You may not purchase recreational pot in another state or Canada and bring it into Wisconsin. This action could trigger federal jurisdiction and result in serious drug trafficking and possession charges. Contact an experienced federal drug crimes defense attorney immediately after a federal drug indictment in Green Bay.
Direct Criminal Penalties Associated with Marijuana Possession Convictions
The penalties for possessing weed in Wisconsin generally depend on the amount of marijuana discovered and the offender’s criminal history. A first-time drug offense for misdemeanor possession is punishable by up to six months imprisonment and a $1000 fine. Defendants without a criminal history will typically not face jail time for simple weed possession with the help of a qualified controlled substance defense lawyer.
Every subsequent marijuana possession conviction, even absent intent to distribute, is a felony punishable by up to 3.5 years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. While Outagamie County judges will consider the amount of marijuana discovered and the intent of the possessor during sentencing, felony drug convictions are always extremely serious. Intent can be relevant factor in sentencing, as judges may look more leniently on marijuana users who have chronic medical conditions and use it medicinally than those who use it recreationally or are selling to others. That said, even non-violent marijuana offenders may face jail time, financial penalties, probation, and temporary loss of their drivers’ licenses for a second or third conviction.
Offenders convicted of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute may also face felony charges. Having a single marijuana plant with the intent to give it away may result in imprisonment. Growing more than 200 cannabis plants or possessing more than 10,000 grams of marijuana in Wisconsin is punishable with up to 15 years imprisonment and/or a $50,000 fine. Appleton defendants federally charged with possessing over 100 plants or 100 kg of pot may face a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 or 10 years of imprisonment.
Potential Indirect & Collateral Consequences of Cannabis Possession Charges
Even a simple marijuana possession conviction may result in frustrating indirect consequences. In addition to jail time and fines, drug offenders convicted of a felony in Appleton may face the following:
- Temporary or permanent loss of a CDL
- Loss of or inability to get a job
- Loss of a right to recreational licenses (e.g., fishing, boating)
- Inability to obtain or loss of occupational licenses (e.g., law, nursing, financial)
- Loss of firearms rights
- Disqualification from federal or state benefits programs
- Inability to vote and loss of certain civil rights
Working with the right criminal defense lawyer may help defendants avoid many of these indirect penalties for marijuana cultivation. Pleading to a lesser-included misdemeanor offense, challenging weight calculations, or moving to quash an illegal search may prevent a Wisconsin felony drug conviction.
Defending Against & Mitigating Marijuana Possession Charges in Appleton
Prosecutors assume intent to distribute based on the amount of marijuana discovered with the defendant. Experienced defense counsel may rebut this presumption with contrary evidence, reducing felony to misdemeanor charges. Potential additional defenses to Wisconsin marijuana possession charges include:
- Challenging illegal searches and seizures resulting in the discovery of evidence
- Producing evidence of a valid CBD prescription
- Proving a lack of knowledge, i.e., the defendant did not know the drugs were placed in his car and/or home
- Mistake as to the THC content of a cannabis plant
- Defeating federal jurisdiction over the case
These defenses may mitigate marijuana possession charges even if they do not defeat them. For example, challenging an illegal search of your home after simple possession charges may force judges to exclude evidence of weed found in your bedroom. Such exclusions could reduce the overall weight calculation and reduce felony to misdemeanor charges.
Contact an Experienced Appleton Marijuana Possession Defense Attorney Today
Hogan Eickhoff’s skilled marijuana possession defense lawyers understand the seriousness of Wisconsin drug charges. Many defendants accused of illegal marijuana possession in Brown County never intended to break the law. Legally possessed weed in Michigan may result in felony charges in Wisconsin. Defend against excessive marijuana possession charges today by contacting our Appleton drug defense lawyers online or at (920) 450-9800 for a free, confidential defense consultation.