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Milwaukee sees drop in small-amount marijuana possession arrests

Cities can vary in their drug enforcement policies and practices. Here in Milwaukee, the city recently substantially reduced the max fine it issues for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Also, arrests for possession of marijuana in amounts 25 grams or under have gone down in the city. Specifically, a recent report indicates that between 2012 and 2015, such arrests dropped 53 percent.

Of course, this drop does not mean that small-amount marijuana possession arrests have all but disappeared in Milwaukee. Even with the drop, hundreds of people were subjected to such arrests in the city last year. The city’s 2015 small-amount marijuana possession arrest total is estimated to have been 613.

Another thing it is important to note is that arrest remains the default action police in Milwaukee take when they decide to take action against a person they suspect of committing small-amount marijuana possession. Despite the fine drop, city police do not just issue citations for small-amount marijuana possession, but continue to arrest all those they charge with such possession.

Another key thing to remember is that the fine drop we discussed above just deals with possession of small amounts of pot. There are, of course, plenty of other marijuana crimes a person could be accused of, such as marijuana manufacturing, marijuana distribution and larger-amount marijuana possession. These crimes can have especially heavy consequences attached to them.

So, even though there have been shifts in the policies and practices regarding small-amount marijuana possession enforcement in Milwaukee, being accused of marijuana crimes in Milwaukee remains something that can expose a person to major problems.

What enforcement policies and practices do you think Milwaukee should adopt when it comes to marijuana?

Source: WUWM, “Report: Marijuana Citations Plummet in Milwaukee,” Mitch Teich and Audrey Nowakowski, Mar 21, 2016

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