Report Examines Marijuana Policy In Milwaukee

Those With Multiple Minor Pot Citations More Likely To Be Jailed For Unpaid Fines

Frank (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A new report from Milwaukee’s Public Policy Forum sheds light on municipal marijuana policy in the city and how it’s being enforced.

One central finding was that few first-time, small-scale marijuana users were put behind the bars for failing to pay fines, whereas repeat offenders were more likely to see jail time.

At a Rotary Club meeting in Milwaukee Tuesday, forum President Rob Henken said marijuana law changes in other big cities may provide options for local policymakers. He said Madison residents can have 112 grams, or about four ounces, or less of marijuana in a private place with no penalty, except for on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

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“So that’s more than four times of the 25 grams in Milwaukee, and there is no penalty as long as it’s in a private place, not only no criminal prosecution but there is no civil violation either,” said Henken. “Of course, you can’t legally buy it, which makes the question: Well, why the law is constructed this way?”

Henken said the Public Policy Forum will publish another report on the demographics and consequences of marijuana arrests. The Milwaukee Common Council lowered the fine for small-scale possession of marijuana to between $0 and $50 in June.