Republican wants to loosen marijuana laws in Wisconsin

DALY CITY, CA - APRIL 18: Leaves of a mature marijuana plant are seenin a display at The International Cannabis and Hemp Expo April 18, 2010 at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California. The two day Cannabis and Hemp Expo features speakers, retailers selling medical marijuana smoking paraphernalia and a special tent available for medical marijuana card holders to smoke their medicine. Voters in California will consider a measure on the November general election ballot that could make the State the first in the nation to legalize the growing of a limited amount of marijuana for private use. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

MADISON, Wis. — A Republican legislator is joining three Democrats in a longshot effort to loosen penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana in Wisconsin.

Rep. Adam Jarchow said at a Tuesday news conference he realized the need for the proposal after voters in his rural, conservative district urged him to reconsider the state’s approach to marijuana.

The measure from Jarchow, Sen. Fred Risser and Reps. Evan Goyke and Jonathan Brostoff would cap the penalty for possessing 10 grams or less of marijuana at $100 and remove the possibility of jail time. The current maximum penalty is $1,000 and six months in jail.

The proposal faces an upward battle with Republicans who control the Legislature. Jarchow says he doesn’t expect it to pass but wants to start a bipartisan conversation.