There continues to be a lot of confusion about marijuana laws on the local, state and federal levels.
For example, Wisconsin has a patchwork of marijuana laws, with some cities having decriminalized possession of small amounts, but possession of any amount remains illegal on the state level.
Moreover, the current United States Attorney General has announced a policy of cracking down on crime, including drug offenses.
The AG's stance regarding marijuana possession is essentially the opposite of the one taken by the previous administration. In fact, it was recently reported that the AG personally asked Congress to let him prosecute providers of medical marijuana.
When faced with this kind of zealous law enforcement, individuals accused of drug crimes will need to mount an aggressive defense against the charges. It is common for prosecutors to seek the harshest possible penalties, even for relatively minor offenses such as possession of a small amount of marijuana.
If larger amounts of drugs are involved, the possible penalties are even more serious.
Being convicted of the sale or delivery of marijuana in Wisconsin can lead to years in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
Under Wisconsin law, the sale or delivery of marijuana weighing 200 grams or less can result in a felony conviction and 3.5 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $10,000. If the weight of the marijuana is 200 to 1,000 grams, a defendant faces a possible 6 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The penalties increase significantly as the amount of marijuana increases.
Federal charges are another matter altogether.
Being charged with a federal drug crime requires immediate legal intervention from a criminal defense attorney if you want to minimize the negative consequences. For more on these matters, please see Kim & LaVoy's overview of federal criminal charges.