Below are updates on pot fine reduction campaigns Cannabadger has been following in West Milwaukee, Middleton and Racine:
West Milwaukee: Eric Marsch of SE WI NORML reports the Village of West Milwaukee clerk advised him the group’s petition for direct legislation to reduce fines for possession of cannabis has been submitted to the Village Council to act on as of June 22. According to Wisconsin Statute 9.20, the Council now has 30 days to directly enact the group’s ordinance as-is or to put it on the ballot. Those are their only two options. If they don’t act upon the ordinance within 30 days, it will automatically be scheduled for the April 2018 ballot.
Middleton: In the city of Middleton (City slogan: “It’s better here”), the City Council voted unanimously June 20 to reject any pot fine reductions. The full council had previously voted June 6 to refer the proposal to the city’s License & Ordinance Committee, which met June 13. Six people spoke in favor of lowering fine amounts at that meeting, and the committee then voted 3-0 to recommend to the full council that fine amounts remain the same after giving it a very hostile reception.
Entry from minutes of June 13 Middleton License & Ordinance Committee detailing 3-0 vote recommending the city council oppose any pot fine reductions.
Middleton Chief of Police Charles Foulke was outspoken in opposition at both the committee and full council meetings, recommending no reduction in fines. The council’s rejection of Madison NORML’s proposal means the group will likely be proceeding with direct legislation. With nearly 20,000 Middleton residents, Madison NORML would need about 1485 good signatures to force the city to either enact the ordinance or place it before voters. In a city whose Tourism page urges visitors to “Sip your way through downtown at Middleton’s downtown Wine Walks,” it appears city leaders are not ready for visitors to safely puff.
Racine: Green Party activists and their allies are continuing to collect signatures to force Racine to either enact a reduced fine or put it before voters. A post on the Racine Green Party Facebook page invites those interested in signing to stop at the Racine Party Office at 4601 Washington Ave (old Payday Express building) and sign the petition. Supporters are also invited to volunteer to help collect signatures at upcoming community events including German Fest, Hot Dog Day, 4th of July Parade, First Friday, and many others in between.
Please share this article and watch Cannabadger for updates as these campaigns progress.