Madison, Wisconsin: First City in U.S. to Allow Public Pot Smoking

The Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival in Madison, Wisconsin (photo by Paul Stanford)

In December, Madison, Wisconsin legalized use and possession of marijuana, joining a handful of other cities that have liberalized their cannabis laws. The new law also allows adult residents to smoke pot on public sidewalks. The caveat is no smoking in school zones or on State property, such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and parks.

"I think that Wisconsin is an outlier, even in the Midwest and you're starting to see cities move forward with it," State Senator Christopher Lawson commented at the time. "Milwaukee has done things in the last couple of years, lowering fine and stop clogging up the criminal justice system."

Madison residents are now allowed to smoke marijuana in public.

It appears that Madison is the first city in the U.S. to allow public smoking. We reached out to several industry experts for comments. None could name another city with such a poilicy. Publc marijuana smoking, unlike tobacco, is generally banned, even in states where cannabis is legal.

MPP's communications manager Violet Cavendish tells CelebStoner: "I'm not aware of any other U.S. cities that allow for public consumption."

Drug Policy Facts editor Doug McVay says, "It's the only place I've ever heard of. A quick search revealed nothing about any states or cities allowing public use."

NORML did not reply to CelebStoner's query.

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Other cities that have legalized marijuana include Breckenridge and Denver, Colorado; Portland and South Portland, Maine; and Washington, DC. Many other cities, including Milwaukee, have either decriminalized or depenalized cannabis use and possession.

Madison is also the home to the Wisconsin State Capitol and the Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival, which takes place on State St. annually on the first weekend of October.


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.