Is It Illegal to Use Marijuana in Wisconsin?

By Tedia Gamino

States across the country have varying laws regarding marijuana use, and many have legalized it. Marijuana is legal for adults in 21 states and Washington, D.C., and medical marijuana is legal in 38 states, and D.C. Marijuana legalization was on the ballot in the 2022 mid-term elections, and Missouri and Maryland became the most recent states to vote to decriminalize cannabis, which brought the total to 21 states where the drug is legal.

So where does Wisconsin stand?

Is Marijuana Legal for Recreational and Medical Use in Wisconsin? Well, It’s Complicated

In Wisconsin, marijuana is illegal for recreational use. The Wisconsin Controlled Substances Act considers THC—the main active ingredient in marijuana that causes its psychoactive effect—to be a Schedule I controlled substance, which puts it in the same category as drugs like heroin, PCP, and LSD.

Under state law, Schedule I substances are also deemed to have no accepted medical use. There is an exception, though. Medical marijuana in Wisconsin is allowed for those who have a written letter from a doctor, and the drug cannot produce any psychoactive effects. This means Wisconsin medical marijuana is restricted to CBD. However, Wisconsin Senator Jon Erpenbach and Representative Chris Taylor introduced legislation that seeks to give qualified patients legal access to medical marijuana—with a doctor’s approval. Their proposed bills would allow the possession of up to 3 oz. of marijuana, and up to as many as 12 plants.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession

You could face stiff penalties if you’re charged with marijuana possession in Wisconsin:

  • First-offense marijuana possession—up to $1,000 in fines and/or a 6-month jail sentence.
  • A repeat offender for marijuana possession can face a felony charge with as much as 3.5 years in jail, and/or $10,000 in fines.
  • If you’re a student, you may lose federal student aid; to include grants and loans.
  • A 5-year suspension of driving privileges.

How Long Does a Marijuana Possession Charge Stay on Your Record?

If you’re convicted of marijuana possession, the possession charge remains on your record indefinitely. You may attempt to have it expunged, if you qualify for expungement.

Efforts to Decriminalize Marijuana in Wisconsin

Local jurisdictions in Wisconsin have enacted municipal laws and resolutions in an effort to partially or fully decriminalize minor recreational marijuana possession offenses. Currently, the capital city of Madison enjoys decriminalization of the possession of up to 28 grams of marijuana (on the municipal level).

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Marijuana Possession Charges?

If you’ve been charged with marijuana possession, call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys who can provide the guidance you need.

By Attorney Tedia Gamino