Members of the Green Party in Racine, Wisconsin have launched a petition campaign for direct legislation to reduce cannabis possession fines in the city to $1, Gary Storck of the Cannabadger reports. The proposed ordinance also specifies that possession of up to 25 grams on private property would be subject to only forfeiture rather than any criminal penalty.
The campaign has to collect a minimum of 3,870 signatures, and as of June 9 activists have already collected more than 1,000 after beginning the drive on June 2.
In an interview with Cannabadger, Green Party co-chairs Fabi Maldonado and Sondra Plunkett explained that under current Racine law, first-time offenders are subject to a $250 fine; however local police are encouraged to enforce the state statute which calls for a $1,000 fine and a misdemeanor charge. Second offenses can lead to felony charges, $10,000 fines, and jail time. Under the Green Party proposal, first offenses would be prohibited from being recorded and “virtually all arrests will be treated as a first offense,” the co-chairs said.
“The real and much more serious costs are the social and economic obstacles that result from prosecution,” they said in the interview. “Families are broken and further impoverished by incarceration and fines, and once a felon is released from incarceration, securing gainful employment is nearly impossible.”
If activists are successful, the city would join Dane County, and the municipalities of Milwaukee, Monona, Fitchburg, and Stevens Point in reducing fines for cannabis possession in Wisconsin.
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