State Sen. Fred Risser
Press Release

Risser Calls for Decriminalizing Marijuana

Wisconsin marijuana laws have a disproportionately negative effect on communities of color.

By - Oct 30th, 2019 09:30 am

Madison – Today Senator Risser, along with Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes and Representatives Shelia Stubbs, David Crowley and Dave Considine introduced legislation that would decriminalize 28 grams or less of marijuana in the state of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin marijuana laws have a disproportionately negative effect on communities of color. A 2018 study by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism found that between 2014-2018 Black residents were four times more likely and Native American residents three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white residents.

While the Black and Native American population collectively comprise only seven percent of the state population, they comprise over 40 percent of the state’s prison population.

“I believe it is important to emphasize the distinction between decriminalization and legalization,” said Risser. “Decriminalizing marijuana simply means we are asking law enforcement to stop arresting folks for having small amounts of marijuana. For context, 28 grams of marijuana is two tablespoons. Under this bill, the manufacture and sale of the drug itself would remain illegal.”

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