Last week, Wisconsin legislators revealed a measure to decriminalize cannabis possession, a distinguished advancement in a state where cannabis reform has perpetually stalled in the red-controlled government notwithstanding the support from the Democratic governor of Wisconsin. Although it isn’t the legalization of cannabis, it is a great start.
Representative Shae Sortwell (R-WI) and Sylvia Ortiz-Velez (D-WI) are backing the measure in the Wisconsin House of Representatives, with a partner measure being led in the Wisconsin Senate by Senators Kathleen Bernier (R) and Lena Taylor (D). There are currently nearly a dozen backers attached to the measure across both chambers and parties respectively.
When more local Wisconsin authorities are autonomously enacting cannabis reforms, this measure seeks to normalize the decriminalization of cannabis at the state level. Some pro-cannabis advocates have noted that it may weaken some Wisconsin city policy alterations by imposing higher fines than the ones that are currently on the book.
The bill would make possession of up to 14 grams of cannabis punishable by a $100 municipal fine without the intimidation of jail time under Wisconsin law (first offense.)
While it remains to be seen whether the government will have the desire to advance the measure, the backers say they’re working to reach a balance between legalization—as the Wisconsin governor, local cannabis advocates, and some lawmakers want—along with the status quo of cannabis criminalization.
Wisconsin government officials would have some flexibility in configuring their systems, but they could not force a civil fine of smaller than $100 or larger than $250 for basic cannabis possession. Moreover, Wisconsin courts could select to charge a minimum of 16 hours, or a preponderance of 40 hours, of community service in place of a civil penalty.
While cannabis reform advocates are still pushing for widespread legalization—and a band of senators declared the filing of a measure to accomplish such—this cannabis reform would at least help specify the disciplinary approach that Wisconsin has steered to cannabis.
Currently, cannabis possession is punishable by a grand $1,000 fine and up to six months in Wisconsin jail for first-timers. Consumers convicted of a consequent crime would face a felony charge punishable by a whopping $10,000 fine and up to three and a half years in federal prison.
Despite this, there is a complex factor in the new measure. The consideration that local municipalities would be allowed is restricted. It appears the measure could lead to increased civic penalties in cities that have imposed much lower penalties for cannabis possession. In Milwaukee, for instance, the fine is set at measly, yet respectable $1, while the new bill would require that to be increased to at least $100.
The new cannabis decriminalization bill would also decrease penalties connected to paraphernalia—making the penalty a $10 civic fine instead of a ridiculous $500 fine and up to 30 days in Wisconsin jail.
According to legal analysis, the measure also designates that a writ issued for possession of cannabis or cannabis-related paraphernalia must contain stipulations for a deposit versus that of the traditional court appearance The Wisconsin court may consider the deposit as a case of no contest and record a judgment without the individual appearing in Wisconsin Criminal Court.
Police would also possess an amount of discretion under the measure. They wouldn’t be obligated to take an individual to jail, process them or take their fingerprints for cannabis possession. Instead, the Wisconsin Police would commonly need to collect essential personal information, such as the person’s name and address.
Lastly, the bill also provides liability guards for employers who choose not to drug test the majority of their company’s workers for the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. Although there exist some anomalies, such as companies that are linked to the federal Department of Transportation, the bill can be quite the advancement for cannabis politics in the midwest.