Committee Okays $1 Fine For Pot Possession
Under state law county can't fully decriminalize. Full board next considers proposal.
The Milwaukee County Board will soon vote on a resolution that would take the county as close to decriminalization of marijuana as it can legally go.
The supervisor told the board’s Judiciary, Safety and General Services Committee Thursday, March 11, that “a huge amount of false propaganda has been drilled into American minds,” in order to keep marijuana illegal. She said that decriminalizing marijuana could allow those suffering from opiate addiction to safely access it, potentially helping them battle the addiction.
Ortiz-Velez’s south-side, city-based district is ground zero for the opioid epidemic locally. The 53215 zip code that encompasses her district had the most drug overdoses in Milwaukee last year.
Her resolution is also the most the county can do to reduce the burden of criminal penalties and fines faced by people who use marijuana. She noted that many veterans use marijuana to self-medicate for PTSD and that under current laws they are criminalized for this.
When Ortiz-Velez began her discussion of the resolution at the committee, she implored all her fellow supervisors to consider “the opportunity to make decisions that can protect the health and welfare of the people we serve.”
At least one supervisor, though, would rather wait for the state government to change marijuana laws.
Sup. Patti Logsdon is opposed to the proposal and plans to introduce an amended resolution that would only change the penalty for possession of medical marijuana, which is not currently legal in Wisconsin. “Because it is an illegal drug I would say that we need to just consider it an illegal drug and maybe we need to make this motion after, or have this come up after marijuana is legalized by the state of Wisconsin,” she said.
Corporation Counsel Margaret Daun said the amendment discussed by Logsdon would create some concerns for her office, largely because medical marijuana isn’t legal in Wisconsin. She said using that general language would be “insufficiently specific.”
The Sheriff’s Office, he added, would not lose the ability to enforce the marijuana ordinance “in an egregious situation where perhaps there’s use taking place in a location or a context where it’s inappropriate or it’s generating a public safety concern.”
The resolution passed the committee on a four-to-one vote, with only Logsdon voting no. The full board will likely vote on the resolution during their meeting at the end of the month.
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- State Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Medical Marijuana - Shawn Johnson - Apr 21st, 2022
- Senator Agard Responds to Medical Marijuana Bill Hearing - State Sen. Melissa Agard - Apr 11th, 2022
- GOP Leader Says Legal Pot Likely ‘At Some Point’ - Christine Hatfield - Mar 7th, 2022
- 61% Of State Supports Legal Cannabis - Isiah Holmes - Mar 6th, 2022
- Two Medical Marijuana Bills Proposed - Shamane Mills - Feb 9th, 2022
- State bill would erase city’s move to decriminalize marijuana possession, increase minimum penalty to $100 - Milwaukee Common Council - Nov 18th, 2021
- Bipartisan Bill Changes Pot Possession Penalties - Laurel White - Nov 17th, 2021
- Senator Agard Hosts Virtual Roundtable on Cannabis Legalization - State Sen. Melissa Agard - Oct 18th, 2021
- Medical Professionals Support Legalizing Cannabis - State Sen. Melissa Agard - Aug 30th, 2021
- Should Milwaukee Eliminate Fine for Small Amounts of Marijuana? - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 25th, 2021
Read more about Legalizing of Marijuana here