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Comparing marijuana laws in Illinois and Wisconsin

Public opinion about marijuana use is changing rapidly around the U.S. Several governors, including Wisconsin’s Gov. Tony Evers, are calling on legislators to change state law. So far, Wisconsin’s top executive has been unsuccessful. Cannabis is illegal in the state, even for medical purposes. 

Meanwhile, across the border in Illinois, consumers can purchase recreational marijuana — and many Wisconsin residents are doing just that. Unfortunately, even legally purchased cannabis products can lead to legal trouble for Wisconsin residents. To avoid issues, know the law. 


Starting this year, Illinois residents can legally possess and use cannabis products. Allowable products include edibles such as candy and concentrated oils, as well as consumables intended for smoking. Product purchases are legal only at state-sanctioned, regulated dispensaries. Customers must be 21 years or older. Consumers may have up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, up to 500 milligrams of edibles and up to five grams of concentrates. Products must be for an individual’s personal use. The law prohibits resale from one consumer to another. 


Possession of marijuana is illegal in Wisconsin, as are cultivation, distribution and possession of paraphernalia. Anyone caught with an ounce of cannabis is subject to six months’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000. Paraphernalia possession is a misdemeanor with a sentence of up to 30 days’ incarceration or a fine of up to $500. Those guidelines are for a first offense, typically a misdemeanor. Subsequent convictions may be felonies and can result in much more severe punishment: a sentence of more than three years and a fine of up to $10,000. 


Wisconsin residents who want to use cannabis are free to do so in Illinois or any other state that has legalized marijuana. They simply need to follow a few simple guidelines. Use all the cannabis products before returning to Wisconsin; do not return while still in possession of marijuana. Do not drive while intoxicated or while any detectable amount of cannabis may still be present in the bloodstream. Regardless of what neighboring states are doing, Wisconsin authorities take marijuana seriously. 

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