News Briefs: Monona, Green Bay updates

Below are updates on a couple recent stories I’ve been following.

Monona $1 pot fine campaign

The Thursday July 1st Wisconsin State Journal published an article by Jeff Glaze about the Monona $1 fine campaign on Page 2 above the fold, “Call to reduce marijuana fines renewed.”

Page 2 Wisconsin State Journal article published Friday, July 1, 2016.
Page 2 Wisconsin State Journal article published Friday, July 1, 2016.

The article included a quote from Monona Police Chief Walter Ostrenga, “It is what it is. I’m not screaming, jumping up and down at my desk, saying this is a bad thing. I have no control over it. The thing is someone has marijuana and they’re only getting a $1 fine, but where are they buying it? … What groups are profiting from the illegal sale of drugs to these people who are only going to get a $1 fine. That doesn’t solve the problem.”

One has to wonder what problem he is talking about. Cannabis prohibition has only ever made things worse. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi encouraged Dane County municipalities to follow suit and reduce penalties after the Dane County Board reduced county pot fines to $1 plus costs in 2015. The City of Fitchburg, long known for Dane County’s and Wisconsin’s most expensive pot ticket at $1000 , heeded Parisi’s advice and quietly dropped fines to $1 plus costs for possession for ages 21+. At the January 27 meeting of the Monona Public Safety Commission, Chief Ostrenga’s own officer Sgt. Detective Ryan Losby said police have more substantial things to deal with than pot use, like the serious heroin epidemic gripping the area.

Look for this banner next to the table across from the Monona Public Library to sign! You must be a Monona resident over 18. (Source: Madison NORML)
Look for this banner next to the table across from the Monona Public Library to sign! You must be a Monona resident over 18. (Source: Madison NORML)

Madison NORML will have volunteers out collecting signatures over the July 4th weekend. On Sunday July 3 the group will again offer a drive-through option for Monona residents to sign the direct legislation petitions at Snicks Sportsman’s Bar 4605 Monona Dr, Madison, Wisconsin 53716 from 12-4pm Sunday July 3.

On Monday July 4, residents can find NORML’s table at its usual location across from the Monona Public Library from 12-8pm. Look for the $1 fine banner. This is the location of Monona’s Fourth of July celebration and fireworks display. To make a donation or volunteer, visit the Madison NORML website.

Here is the Facebook page for the Monona campaign.

The second item I want to follow-up on is the recent motion hearing in Green Bay by a De Pere WI resident and Michigan medical cannabis cardholder to attempt to reverse two pot convictions for very small amounts, one that resulted in a felony.

Green Bay Post-conviction hearing Update

Brown County Courtgouse in Green Bay will be the site of a post-conviction hearing challenging WI pot law. Photo by David Farmbrough This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Brown County Courthouse in Green Bay is where a post-conviction motion challenging WI pot law has been filed. Photo by David Farmbrough This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Cannabadger talked to Chris Potter regarding his post-conviction relief hearing in Green Bay June 28 that we recently wrote about “Green Bay hearing seeks to challenge pot convictions” (June 26). The court is currently holding the motion in abeyance while awaiting a filing from the office of state Attorney General Brad Schimel. Judge Kendall Kelly appeared to agree with the district attorney, stating the subject is very controversial and “if you pull this off you will be celebrities.” A “calendar call” is scheduled for August 12, 2016 at 8:00 am. Potter said his attorney Jeffrey Mann plans to appeal all the way to the state Supreme Court if the motion is rejected.

Have a great holiday weekend and if you are from Monona and haven’t signed the petitions or know someone from Monona who hasn’t, please get to one of the locations to sign.

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