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“This is not a free for all:” Fine reduced for possession of small amounts of marijuana

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MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Common Council voted on Tuesday, June 2nd to lower the maximum fine for possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana. Members voted 10-3 in favor of lowering the fine to between $0 and $50. The previous fine for possessing small amounts of marijuana was between $250 and $500.


Officials say the measure approved by the council on Tuesday does not legalize the drug -- it simply reduces the punishment for those in possession of small amounts of it.

Three alderman voted against the measure. They are Bob Donovan,  Robert Puente and Terry Witkowski.

"Judges indicate that this, in their belief, is not heading in the right direction and sends the wrong message to our community and I hold that same view. I will not support this legislation," Witkowski said.

In some states, marijuana is allowed to be used for medicinal purposes. In other states, recreational use is allowed. Wisconsin is not one of those states.

"It's still illegal and this just reduces the fine. But yes, the intent of this legislation was to say that personal use in a private space in my opinion is not something we should be worried about. We already have our police and district attorney saying this is not an enforcement priority nor prosecutorial priority," Alderman Nik Kovac said.

Kovac co-sponsored the amendment.


"This is not a free for all. We do not want the public use of marijuana just like we don't want public drinking of alcohol at a bus stop or on the sidewalk," Kovac said.

Those caught smoking marijuana in public face a stiffer fine of between $250 and $500, and imprisonment if they don't pay.

ACLU of Wisconsin representatives say they're happy with the Common Council's vote.

"Whites and African-Americans use marijuana at about the same rate. But we've found, the ACLU has found, across the country and here in Wisconsin and Milwaukee enforcement leads to racial disparity and the excessive fines that we have here in Milwaukee result in harm," an ACLU representative said.

A recent report from the Public Policy Forum found that only eight people in the last three years had actually served any jail time for fines.

But ACLU officials argue excessive fines resulted in more people in the criminal justice system -- reducing educational and employment opportunities.

Monitor FOX6 News and for updates on this developing story.


  • George

    Bob Donovan, Robert Puente and Terry Witkowski all need to go! These are the real scum of Milwaukee. Bob Donovan pretends to care about the community, but then votes against things that will direct improve the community.

    • Opinion8d

      Please tell me how this improves the community? More people possessing drugs because of light penalties?? Maybe we should further improve the community by not arresting people for theft, burglary, battery, etc…..we could ‘save’ those upstanding community members some money. But let’s blame the law and order people for others inability to live within society norms……

      • Joe T

        Marijuana use doesn’t have victims like theft, burglary, battery, etc. do. The impact will be less people prosecuted for possessing a plant less toxic than potatoes.

  • Andy

    Just legalize it already. This is ridiculous. Stuffy Republicans can’t except that it’s all around them already. Ignorance is bliss?

  • Angalee Jones

    The sure want to throw everybody in jail that don’t give them money….Abrogate all cannabis/marijuana laws…the gov.’s patent proves it a neuroprotectant and antioxidant which is nutrition & food. Google it Cannabis/marijuana is the most nutritious food on the planet & no more harm to society than grapevines are…grapes are antioxidants …fermented grapes can give you a buzz. The government is keeping everyone from preventing illnesses by keeping the a better protein source than meat…a food that has kept whole societies alive as their food. Cannabis before prohibition was given to babies for teething and to help them sleep. Doctors prescribed it…you could buy it over the counter. Presidents grew & smoked it. The Pentagon is on an old marijuana farm. Give us a break from the lies…Abrogate all cannabis laws today…stop protecting us from better health.

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