New LawMay Lead to Changes in the Prosecution of Marijuana Possession:

A new law relating to the prosecution of marijuana possession in Wisconsin, 2013 Wisconsin Act 293, was recently enacted. The new law gives municipalities broader authority to enact ordinances prohibiting the possession of marijuana or a synthetic cannabinoid. Previously, ordinances could only prohibit possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana, and did not authorize prosecution for a second offense of possession of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoid. This new law allows local governmental units or counties to enact ordinances prohibiting possession of any amount of marijuana and allowing prosecution for a second or greater offense for possession of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoid.

The local government may only prosecute the matter if the District Attorney does not prosecute the same offense. Similarly, a county may only enforce an ordinance prohibiting these possession-related offenses if the state and the local government with jurisdiction do not prosecute the same offense. It will be interesting to see how these new changes in authority affect the decisions and case loads of the District Attorneys’ offices statewide, as well as the burden on local police, sheriffs and municipal courts, if at all.

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