It is hard to open a newspaper, browse the web or watch television these days without seeing signs of our nation’s relaxed attitude toward marijuana. As you read this, Wisconsin legislators are pushing laws that would decriminalize or legalize marijuana; our neighbors in Illinois are one of 18 states that have already legalized it.

Consider yourself for thinking that carrying or enjoying some marijuana from time to time is no big deal. But, unfortunately, the State of Wisconsin and the federal government disagree. This disagreement can result in time behind bars, fines and a criminal record if convicted of a state or federal drug crime.

Marijuana Is Still Illegal in Wisconsin

Wisconsin residents can travel to Illinois to purchase and use marijuana. However, the right to enjoy legal marijuana ends once you cross the border back into Wisconsin. Even marijuana purchased legally in Illinois can result in drug possession charges in Wisconsin that are punishable by jail and fines.

The Federal Government Still Lists Marijuana as Schedule I Controlled Substance

The federal government maintains an aggressive posture against marijuana. For example, the feds only downgraded marijuana from Schedule IV to Schedule I last year. Even in states where marijuana is legal – such as Illinois – the feds can still bust people cultivating, possessing or selling the drug. Those charges can expose you to harsh sentences at the federal level and the collateral consequences that come with having a federal crime on your record.

The Bottom Line

Marijuana will likely be legal in Wisconsin someday, but that day is not today.