Possible outcomes for marijuana possession cases in Wisconsin

The public debate over marijuana possession shows that many people across the country have relaxed their views concerning recreational marijuana. Some states have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Wisconsin lawmakers have not directly legalized pot for recreational use, but, the issue is slated for the ballot in November for Milwaukee County.

A referendum has been proposed to learn more about what voters in Milwaukee think about possession of marijuana. The advisory referendum seeks information about the recreational use of marijuana if the person is 21 years of age or older. The referendum also includes questions about imposing a sales tax on marijuana, much like when alcohol was made legal decades ago.

State lawmakers have not acted to legalize marijuana. The advisory referendum seeks to track current public opinion among voters. The referendum will be on the Milwaukee County Ballot on November 6.

Until the referendum, pot use still illegal

Milwaukee and Madison already have specific ordinances that make possession of a small amount of pot for personal use a civil violation, instead of a crime. However, there are federal law and state laws that continue to make marijuana possession a crime.

Under Wisconsin state law, a conviction for a first-time marijuana possession charge brings the possibility of a lofty fine up to $1,000. Current state law allows judges to sentence a person to jail for up to six months. A conviction could slap an accused with just one or both of these consequences.

A second offense for marijuana conviction is more severe. Prosecutors may seek a felony charge for a repeat offender. The penalties may include a fine up to $10,000 and/or up to three-and-a-half years in a cell.

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