A patchwork of states in the Midwest allow the use of recreational marijuana, including two states that neighbor Wisconsin. Michigan legalized recreational marijuana Dec 1, 2019 and Illinois followed by legalizing recreational pot January 1st of this year. Although neighboring states are open for business, in Wisconsin marijuana possession remains illegal and officials are warning residents against cannabis tourism and crossing state lines with marijuana.
When Michigan legalized marijuana sales, the customers poured in, many from neighboring states like Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. Nearly $5 million of recreational pot was sold in the first three weeks with plenty of it crossing state lines. Now that Illinois is on board, some Wisconsin residents may be tempted, but be warned that possession in Wisconsin remains a criminal violation even if it was purchased legally in another state.
While Wisconsin permits the use of medicinal marijuana limited to cannabidiol in a form without psychotic effect (CBD), possession of marijuana and other products containing THC is off limits. Possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, intent to distribute or grow marijuana are illegal and come with what some may view as downright draconian consequences in light of shifting attitudes toward pot in other parts of the country.
While Illinoisans contemplate the flavor of the day in dispensaries across their state, misdemeanor possession in Wisconsin can land someone in jail for up to 6 months and a fine up to $1,000 dollars with subsequent possession charged as a felony. If someone possesses marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, the penalties and fines are dire. Smaller amounts can result in a prison sentence of over 3 years and a $10,000 fine; larger amounts can translate into over a decade in prison and tens of thousands of dollars. Even having drug paraphernalia in Wisconsin such as a pipe can result in jail time and a fine.
It is also important to understand that despite state marijuana laws permitting use and sale of marijuana, possession and selling marijuana are not legal under federal law. Although the feds tend to look the other way and let the states do their own thing, they still retain the power to penalize anything from possession to trafficking and distribution with state lines between legal and non-legal states obvious targets.
Arrested After Crossing State Lines With Marijuana?
Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Drug Crime Defense Attorney for Help
While some celebrate the legalization of marijuana in their state, seeing it as check on convictions for low level, nonviolent crimes and a boon for the economy, residents in neighboring states where marijuana possession is still a crime may not share their enthusiasm. Families that have children in high school or college who might not appreciate the consequences of bringing back a souvenir from another state where everything goes are justifiably worried that their child will make a mistake. Despite the wave of legalized recreational marijuana in the U.S., drug possession and trafficking are met with serious consequences in Wisconsin. If you or a family member has been arrested and charged with a drug crime, contact criminal defense attorney Andrew C. Ladd for help at 262-542-3900.