Proposed legislation seeks to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin

If some Wisconsin lawmakers have their way, the Badger State will soon join the ranks of a handful of other states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana.

While the use of cannabidiol — an oil extract of marijuana — is already legal in Wisconsin for the medical treatment of certain seizure disorders, this most recent bill will likely face a significant uphill battle.

The Details of Assembly Bill 224

This legislation, known as A.B. 224, would, if passed, permit a Wisconsin resident to possess up to one-half of one ounce of marijuana — roughly 14 grams — without fear of arrest or criminal charges. However, the law would only apply to those over the age of 21. Similarly, nonresidents over the age of 21 would be able to possess marijuana, but only up to one-quarter ounce.

Under the language of the proposed legislation, anyone possessing more marijuana than permitted by law would face a civil forfeiture of up to $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail, but only if the amount in question was not greater than 28 grams. Possessing more than 28 grams would be a Class B misdemeanor.

Current Wisconsin Marijuana Possession Laws

The penalties under the proposed legislation are a far cry from the harsher ones currently in force in Wisconsin. In fact, under existing Wisconsin drug laws, possessing even the smallest amount of marijuana is already a misdemeanor-level offense, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Even worse, a second offense is a Class I felony.

It is also important to remember that marijuana continues to be an illegal substance under federal law. And, while most federal law enforcement agencies are not prosecuting marijuana cases when the alleged actions are legal under state law, that does not mean they won't start in the future.

Simply put, the laws associated with marijuana offenses are constantly changing and/or in flux, both at the state and federal level. Therefore, if you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense in Wisconsin, it is crucial to seek the legal guidance of an attorney who is not only experienced but also up-to-date regarding marijuana laws. A skilled attorney can carefully explain your options and help ensure your rights are protected throughout the entire process.

A Wisconsin drug conviction can lead to potential jail time and a criminal record, so fight back and contact an attorney today.