Judiciary Committee Approves Proposal to Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalty

Milwaukee – Today the County Board’s Judiciary, Safety and General Services Committee approved a resolution sponsored by Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez that would reduce the fine for marijuana possession, and possession and delivery of drug paraphernalia, within Milwaukee County to no more than $1.

“I would like to thank my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee for supporting this proposal,” said Supervisor Ortiz-Velez. “Their support means those who use marijuana for medicine are one step closer to not being harshly penalized in Milwaukee County and is another step towards achieving our vision of racial equity. I look forward to having the full County Board consider this resolution.”

Current Milwaukee County ordinance sets the fine for marijuana possession as not less than $250 nor more than $500.

In April 2020, the Wisconsin chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union found that Black Wisconsinites were more than 4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white Wisconsinites. The report also found that Wisconsin ranks 14th in the nation for largest racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests.

The resolution would apply only to Chapter 24 of Milwaukee County ordinance, which is reserved for violations of 25 grams or less of marijuana. Law enforcement would still be able to issue State citations, if needed, for possession of larger amounts.

Supervisors Ryan Clancy, Steven Shea, Sequanna Taylor, Joseph J. Czarnezki, Willie Johnson Jr., Liz Sumner, Anthony Staskunas, Shawn Rolland and Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson are co-sponsors of the resolution.

The resolution is expected to come before the full County Board at its Thursday, March 25 meeting.

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