Lagging some distance behind its neighboring states, Wisconsin continues to punish even the smallest-scale cannabis offences with enormous fines and custodial sentences. Even if you’ve a clean criminal record and just a tiny amount of cannabis on your person, you could still be headed for a spell behind bars.
Is Recreational Marijuana Legal in Wisconsin
By a considerable margin, Wisconsin has some of the harshest of all penalties in the United States for cannabis-related offences. This is one of just a few remaining places where you can be sent straight to jail for up to six months for small-scale possession. You could only be carrying a scrap of weed and have a clean criminal record, but you’ll still be committing a misdemeanor. If it’s not your first possession offense, you’ll be committing a felony and could be headed to jail for up to 3.5 years.
What’s becoming increasingly clear is the fact that state legislators have no intention of listening to the thoughts, wishes and preferences of Wisconsin’s actual residents. Support for decriminalization is practically unanimous, leading to nine of the state’s 10 biggest cities decriminalizing small-scale cannabis possession. This means that in Appleton, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Kenosha, La Crosse, Marshfield, Milwaukee, Racine, Waukesa and Wausau, it’s no longer a criminal offence to carry small quantities of cannabis on your person.
Though the state itself apparently has no intention of following suit anytime soon.
How About Medical Marijuana in Wisconsin?
While Wisconsin can technically stake claim to having a medical cannabis framework in place, it’s of little to no practical value to patients. Assembly Bill 726 (Lydia’s Law) legalized the use of low-THC cannabis oil for the treatment of intractable epilepsy in children, after which Senate Bill 10 expanded coverage to include any qualifying medical condition, as recommended by an authorized physician.
Unfortunately, the policy has been labelled symbolic at best. The reason being that actually getting hold of cannabis oil for medical purposes in Wisconsin is currently impossible. The cultivation of cannabis and manufacture of cannabis products is illegal statewide, while Federal law prohibits the transportation of cannabis products across state lines.
Attempts to bring in a broader and more liberal medical cannabis policy in 2016 were shot down in flames, despite a clear majority of Wisconsin’s citizens supporting fair access to therapeutic marijuana.
Wisconsin Recreational Marijuana Laws
The formal cannabis policy of Wisconsin as a state is relatively simple – recreational cannabis is forbidden in all its forms. Though things become a little more complex when considering the differences between individual jurisdictions. As mentioned, nine of the state’s 10 biggest cities have decriminalized small quantities of cannabis. This means that If you’re carrying a couple of joints on your person, you’ll get the equivalent of a parking ticket in one city, though could spend the next six months in jail elsewhere.
Unsurprisingly, the cultivation of cannabis is also comprehensively outlawed – no differences from one jurisdiction to the next. Anyone caught growing four plants or less will be looking at a fine of up to $10,000, along with a 3.5-year prison sentence. More than four plants and the penalty increases to a maximum six years in prison.
Will Recreational Cannabis Be Legalized in Wisconsin?
State legislators have made it abundantly clear that they are comprehensively against any and all forms of recreational cannabis legalization. Even with nine of the state’s 10 biggest cities having had decriminalized small quantities of weed, the state itself maintains its harsh and regressive stance.
This would therefore suggest that widespread recreational cannabis legalization is off the cards in Wisconsin indefinitely. Even more tragically, there’s little to no indication of a fair and viable medical cannabis policy on the immediate horizon, for patients across Wisconsin.