Wisconsin is at the mercy of our elected officials to change the state law.

We have 99 State Assembly Representatives that are up for election every two years.

We have 33 State Senators; half of them are up for election every four years.

Wisconsin does not have a state wide binding ballot initiative. That means we cannot collect signatures to force the issue at the state level. Marijuana reform at the state level needs to go through the legislative process. How a bill becomes law is important to understand when advocating for cannabis reform in Wisconsin at the state level.

How a bill becomes law
How a bill becomes law

Not sure who represents you and is your State Senator and Assembly Rep? Use this link: https://maps.legis.wisconsin.gov/

At the local level, Wisconsin is comprised of 72 counties and 595 municipalities. These two entities are allowed to govern and make rule by authority for 25 grams of marijuana or less in their jurisdictions. The statutes are:

59.54(25)(a)- Counties:

(25)  Possession of marijuana.

(a) The board may enact and enforce an ordinance to prohibit the possession of marijuana, as defined in s. 961.01 (14), subject to the exceptions in s. 961.41 (3g) (intro.), and provide a forfeiture for a violation of the ordinance; except that if a complaint is issued regarding an allegation of possession of more than 25 grams of marijuana, or possession of any amount of marijuana following a conviction in this state for possession of marijuana, the subject of the complaint may not be prosecuted under this subsection for the same action that is the subject of the complaint unless all of the following occur:

1. The charges for violating the state statute are dismissed or the district attorney declines to prosecute the case.

2. Either the city, village, or town with jurisdiction over the action has no ordinance enacted under s. 66.0107 (1) (bm) in effect or the city, village, or town with jurisdiction over the action has declined to prosecute or has dismissed the charges for the violation of the ordinance enacted under s. 66.0107 (1) (bm). (b) Any ordinance enacted under par. (a) applies in every municipality within the county.

Source for Statue wording quoted above for 59.54(25)a


66.0107 Power of municipalities to prohibit criminal conduct.

(bm) Enact and enforce an ordinance to prohibit the possession of marijuana, as defined in s. 961.01 (14), subject to the exceptions in s. 961.41 (3g) (intro.), and provide a forfeiture for a violation of the ordinance; except that if a complaint is issued regarding an allegation of possession of more than 25 grams of marijuana, or possession of any amount of marijuana following a conviction in this state for possession of marijuana, the subject of the complaint may not be prosecuted under this paragraph for the same action that is the subject of the complaint unless the charges are dismissed or the district attorney declines to prosecute the case.

Source for Statue wording quoted above for 66.0107(bm)

Counties and Municipalities (Cities, Towns and Villages) can pass resolutions supporting cannabis reform and place non-binding referendum on local ballots.

In November 2018 Sixteen (16) county and two (2) city marijuana referendums were held, all referendums passed. Source and complete results link.