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3 facts about Milwaukee’s changes to marijuana law

You may have heard that the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors recently reduced the fine for possession of small amounts of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia. Naturally, you could be confused about where cannabis law currently stands in Milwaukee and what could happen to your college-age child if they are allegedly caught with marijuana in their possession.

Here are three things you need to know:

  • Marijuana possession is still a crime in Milwaukee County. The county board voted to reduce the fine for possession of 25 grams or less to $1. But this applies only to areas owned by the county or when a sheriff’s deputy is involved. Municipal police in Milwaukee and other cities within the county will continue to enforce the same possession laws as before. However, the Milwaukee Common Council is expected to consider a similar ordinance this month.
  • Deputies will enforce Wisconsin marijuana laws. The new county ordinance does not affect the enforcement of the law for possession of amounts heavier than 25g.
  • Marijuana is still illegal. Possession of marijuana is a crime under both Wisconsin and federal law. There is little chance of the state Legislature consider legalization this session, either for recreational or medicinal purposes.

Reducing the penalty for minor possession of marijuana to a token fine could be seen as a step toward eventual legalization. But that would take more than a vote by the county Board of Supervisors. Until that happens, college students in Milwaukee, Madison and throughout Wisconsin can be arrested and charged with marijuana possession. State law considers cannabis possession a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail for a first offense.

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