As noted in our March 20 post, the Dane County Board with the approval of County Executive Joe Parisi is working to reduce cannabis penalties and their negative consequences on county residents.
The next step in this process will be a vote by the full board this Thursday, April 16, on an ordinance proposed by the county executive which was previously approved by two county board committees. The ordinance would lower the fine for first time possession of small amounts (25 grams) to $10 plus costs. Sponsors of the ordinance anticipate the $10 fine will pass the board by a wide margin.
Sup. John Hendrick of Madison has also introduced a substitute ordinance which further reduces the fine to $1 plus costs and includes other provisions under 2013 Wisconsin Act 293. Hendrick said in an email it would be available in all cities, villages and towns and could apply to first offenses of small amounts (25 grams) and to larger amounts unless a criminal complaint is filed and to subsequent offenses unless a criminal complaint is filed.
The Board is expected to vote on both versions Thursday evening between 7:00 and 8:00 pm. Supporters can speak and/or register in favor at that time.
On Monday April 13, former Dane County Sup. Melissa Sargent, now a Democratic state representative from Madison, introduced LRB-0188, which would legalize small amounts of cannabis in Wisconsin. Rep. Sargent is currently seeking cosponsors for her legislation. News reports so far indicate the bill will likely receive a cool response from Republicans who control both houses of the legislature.