Gretchen Schuldt
Court Watch

Just 13% of City’s Pot Cases Involve Whites

Blacks and Hispanics make up 57% of city population but 86% of pot cases in 2017.

By , Wisconsin Justice Initiative - May 15th, 2018 03:19 pm

Marijuana plant. Photo by Jennifer Martin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

Marijuana plant. Photo by Jennifer Martin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

Seventy percent of the possession of marijuana cases filed in Milwaukee Municipal Court last year were against African Americans, records show.

Blacks account for just 40% of the city’s population, but were defendants in 601 of the 860 marijuana possession cases.

In addition, 139 cases were filed against Hispanics, 30 more than the 109 cases filed against whites, according to Municipal Court statistics. Hispanics account for just 17 percent of the city’s population; whites make up 45% of the city’s residents.

The Municipal Court caseload reflect activities of the Police Department.

The Wisconsin Justice Initiative previously reported that African-Americans in Milwaukee County were far more likely to be charged with felony second offense possession of marijuana cases than are other races.

2017 Muni Court Pot Cases

2017 Muni Court Pot Cases

Simple possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana in the city can usually be charged as a municipal offense rather than as a state misdemeanor or felony. The municipal fine for possession is $50, though costs and fees will increase that to $124 for an adult and $94 for a juvenile. (Smoking marijuana in a public place is punishable by a fine of up to $250 plus fees and costs.)

Below is a map showing the Milwaukee or mostly Milwaukee zip codes where Municipal Court defendants charged with possession of marijuana resided and the number cases brought against those defendants.

Not all Municipal Court defendants live in Milwaukee and so not all cases are shown.

Source: Municipal Court

Source: Municipal Court

Gretchen Schuldt writes a blog for Wisconsin Justice Initiative, whose mission is “To improve the quality of justice in Wisconsin by educating the public about legal issues and encouraging civic engagement in and debate about the judicial system and its operation.

More about the Legalizing of Marijuana

Read more about Legalizing of Marijuana here

7 thoughts on “Court Watch: Just 13% of City’s Pot Cases Involve Whites”

  1. Rich says:

    Seems that these cases might be more of a “oh, we found this too” type of thing rather than a “hunt you down for weed” type of thing. That is, perhaps no one “gets away with it” once it is found and certain groups are more likely to be found. A look at only these numbers doesn’t say….

  2. Terry says:

    Wisconsin’s Jim Crow cannabis laws are an awful racist relic from a bygone era. The state desperately needs reform on this matter. Sadly, Career Politician Scott Walker and republicans are not listening to the people nor their own constituents. Too busy handing over billions of our tax dollars to a Chinese company..

    Dump Walker 2018
    Legalize cannabis.

  3. Tom says:

    Legalize, tax and regulate. No more dumb failed racist republican reefer madness PLEASE!

  4. LenaTaylorNeedsToResign says:

    Keep it illegal, folks! Gateway drugs, leading to dazed, out-of-it loss of reality and wasted lives. There’s a big reason the ‘drug brains’ that post on here post the SAME THINGS, over and over and over. Their brains are now complete charcoal briquets and they don’t even realize it. They think their behavior is completely normal, and they want to hook everyone else on their effed-up drugs!! YIKES!

  5. Caligula says:

    Just legalize it already and pave the damn roads! Cannabis is the #1 cash crop in America. It has beenfor decades, like it or not and not even the bitter old drunk hypocrite puritanical republicans in Wississippi can change that! 40 other states and all of Canada have already ended prohibition morons. The modern civilized world has left Walker’s Wississippi behind.

  6. Jake currently of the MKE says:

    Yup. LTNTR is right. Opioid corporations need to be held accountable and Walker and Schimel for taking their money to spread the addiction

  7. Terry says:

    Agreed Jake but we should also hold the alcohol corporations in Wisconsin accountable as well! There is absoluteky NO COMPARISON between the awful, deleterious, often deadly, addictive, life destroying qualities of opioids or booze and this positive, life affirming, healing herb. Legalize it!

    #The HealingHerb

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