Trying to understand cannabis law can be difficult given that laws can differ between federal, state and even individual cities. Supporting legalization of cannabis in the United States means more uniform laws and regulations. This means that individuals seeking medical marijuana or recreational use can do so safely. As of April 2022, recreational marijuana is legal in 18 states. 31 states have decriminalized minor marijuana offenses.
Where does Wisconsin Stand on Marijuana?
The state of Wisconsin has not currently legalized marijuana for recreational use (as of March 2022). The only medical marijuana allowed is with non-psychoactive CBD. There are places with local (city) decriminalization where the penalty for minor marijuana offenses is met with just a fine. More information on these cities can be found on the NORML page for Wisconsin Local Decriminalization.
While marijuana is not legal in the state, hemp is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. Hemp is the low-THC variety of the cannabis plant. Products containing less than .03% of THC are considered federally legal in the United States.
Recently, there has been an increase in products available with hemp-derived cannabinoids including many versions of THC. While these products are technically legal at a federal level, state and local laws vary. Because of this, it is important when traveling to check on the laws in the state or city you are heading to.
What can I do to help legalization?
By reading about cannabis law and educating yourself on the benefits of the plant, you are already helping! Many other people are also educating themselves about cannabis and support its legalization. According to a 2018 poll From Marquette Law School, 61% of Wisconsin residents support the full legalization of marijuana.
Additionally, there are multiple sources available to stay up to date on news regarding marijuana legalization and cannabis research.
- NORML provides updates on medical marijuana law including a weekly State Policy Update that highlights changes that are being made at the state level.
- Marijuana Moment provides daily newsletters and describes themselves as sharing “up-to-the-minute news on the politics, business, science and culture of cannabis”.
- Leafly is a great source of information on all things cannabis knowledge and culture to help educate consumers.
Wisconsin Cannabis Law Timeline
On April 20th, a senate hearing took place regarding the medical marijuana bill announced in January. This hearing is a step in the right direction. Conversation about medical marijuana means progress, but the bill comes with much criticism. These criticisms include, the limited number of qualifying ailments in the bill, not allowing cannabis flower, allowing employers to punish workers for cannabis use, and excluding those with prior drug convictions to be patients or work in the cannabis industry. Although there may be issues with the bill in its current state, there is still room for amendments to be made.August. If you live in the counties of Dane, Eau Claire and Milwaukee or in the cites of Appleton, Kenosha and Racine you will see questions regarding cannabis legalization on your November ballots. This recent change to the ballots aims to gauge public interest in reforming the marijuana law. While we already know that the majority of Wisconsinites approve of legal marijuana, these votes will hopefully send an even clearer message to lawmakers of what the people want. While these votes will not create any changes in law, they could inspire future decision making in that direction.
Ready to support the movement?
My name is Amber. I am a cannabinoid consultant and columnist for Happy Trails. I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology. I enjoy learning about things I have passion for, and my family lovingly calls me a “human encyclopedia”. Read more about Amber here.
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Burke, R., & Hass, L. (2020, May 13). LISTEN: Demystifying hemp: The past, present and future in Wisconsin. OnMilwaukee. https://onmilwaukee.com/articles/hemp-business-podcast
Franklin, C. (2018, August 22). New Marquette Law School Poll finds tight races for Wisconsin Governor, US Senate seat | Marquette Law School Poll. Marquette University Law School. Retrieved March 24, 2022, from https://law.marquette.edu/poll/2018/08/22/mlsp47release/
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James, J. (2022, March 18). State Policy Update 3/18/2022. NORML. Retrieved March 24, 2022, from https://norml.org/blog/2022/03/18/state-policy-update-3/
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