Marijuana charges: misdemeanor or felony?

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | Marijuana

In Wisconsin, marijuana laws are strict. The state has not legalized marijuana for recreational use and has strict limits in terms of medical use. Possession, sale or distribution can lead to serious legal consequences. It is crucial for individuals, especially college students, to understand the factors that can bump a misdemeanor charge up to a felony.

Factors that can elevate a misdemeanor charge

First-time possession of marijuana (under 25 grams) usually falls under a misdemeanor. Penalties can include up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Possession of drug paraphernalia is also a misdemeanor with similar penalties. However, second or subsequent possession offenses may result in a felony charge; other factors include the following:

  • Quantity of marijuana: Possession of a large amount of marijuana may elevate the charge to a felony.
  • Intent to distribute: Indicators include possession of substantial amounts, packaging materials, scales or large sums of cash.
  • Proximity to specific areas: Possession or distribution near schools, parks or other designated areas can result in felony charges.
  • Presence of minors: Involving minors in marijuana-related activities, such as selling or distributing to them can elevate charges.
  • Use of weapons: The presence of firearms increases the severity of the offense.

Factors such as causing harm to others or having a large-scale operation can also raise charges. Understanding these factors can help individuals avoid actions that could lead to more severe legal consequences.

How does a marijuana offense impact a college student?

A misdemeanor or felony charge can significantly impact a college student’s personal and academic life.

  • A criminal record can limit professional and educational opportunities
  • Disciplinary actions like suspension or expulsion
  • Revocation of financial aid and scholarships

Whether it falls under a misdemeanor or a felony, facing marijuana charges can hinder students from achieving their dreams. Therefore, college students need to understand the gravity of these charges. With help from legal professionals, it may be possible to navigate these challenging situations more effectively.

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