Marijuana: Wisconsin Towns Join Decriminalization Trend

Small town Washburn, Wisconsin, may cling to the shores of Lake Superior at the northernmost tip of the state, but it's not clinging to tough marijuana law enforcement. Last week, the Washburn City Council passed an ordinance allowing city police to issue tickets to people caught with small amounts of marijuana instead of arresting and booking them.

That made Washburn only the latest Cheesehead State locality to pass a decrim ordinance -- and that distinction was short-lived. On Monday, the Two Rivers City Council passed an ordinance making possession of less than eight grams of marijuana a municipal offense.

The move to municipal decrim began in the 1970s, when 15 cities, mostly college towns, adopted ordinances, according to veteran Wisconsin marijuana and civil liberties activist Ben Masel. Milwaukee moved to the scheme in the early 1990s. Also in the early 1990s, counties were given similar authority, and Walworth County, home of the Alpine Valley Music Theater, which hosted Grateful Dead tours, notoriously turned a nice profit on $454 marijuana possession citations.

This year, Dane County (Madison) and Eau County prosecutors announced they would charge offenders exclusively under county ordinances rather than state law. But in other locales, that decision is left to local prosecutors. Being prosecuted under local ordinances has the benefit of leaving no criminal conviction and no loss of student aid or other benefits. But there can still be hefty penalties, and, Masel noted, a lower burden of proof for a civil infraction and no right to a jury trial.

It's all good with Washburn Assistant Police Chief Jeremy Clapero, who told a local radio station the ordinance would give police flexibility in dealing with pot users. Under Wisconsin law, simple marijuana possession is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Previously lacking a municipal ordinance, police had to put marijuana possessors in jail.

"They were arrested on the spot and brought to jail -- they were booked into the jail and then they would be at some point released and appear in court on that charge," said Clapero. "Now there's a situation where they can get a ticket with the fine amount and released. It's not on their criminal record at that point."

While Clapero said people could still be arrested under the state law, the ordinance will save police time and resources. "A situation where a person has a small or a very small amount of marijuana in their possession or in their car, this may be used instead of bringing that person to criminal court and having a criminal offense on their record for something would he be issued a city ordinance citation which is a forfeiture offense -- similar to like a speeding ticket."

But don't think this means Washburn police have seen the light regarding the war on drugs. "It's not intended to say that we're not tough on drugs. We're still tough on drugs it's just gives us another avenue. We're behind just what every other agency has done, so we just kind of stepped up and did what they did." Clapero said.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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its all good

i fucking luv to smoke the fuck out and big coorporations are stopping that oh yeah and the fucking police take our shit from us and smoke that shit i think that if they want us to get along they should let us get high as hell w/o putting us in a cage

reason not to smoke

The above comment would be excellent to show kids what happens when you smoke too much weed.

yes and no

that comment is an example of a drug ABUSER. you do not know if he has experiences with any other euphorias due to other drugs and their side effects. so yes, he is irresponsible, but thats not all of us.

reply

It is so frustrating to see/read comments that include vulgarity and stupidity. These types of posts contribute to society's fear that smoking pot /the people who smoke it are "bad". As my Grandfather( a smoker of the finest cannibis)used to say "if you must cuss or yell to get your point accross then your point is weak as is your intelligence" PLEASE ppl, use some class and tact when speaking on the issue of legalization of pot, we need good representation not idiots to scare the general public !!

washburn

no part of Wisconsin is close to Lake Superior

washburn

no part of Wisconsin is close to Lake Superior

Really?

The folks with (superior) lakefront property and those visiting the park lands that do might be rather surprised by that.

not a big problem

please understand what the media and the stupid "truth" commercials are stuffing into peoples heads are all garbage. If mairjuana was such a bad "drug", the government wouldnt decriminalize it.

wow you people

For those of you who still think it should be illegal just stop, if you don't want to do it, don't, but don't punish other people because you're being selfish. Bite your lip and let people get high in their homes. Seriously. Personally I don't smoke but I think if people want to do it and they're on their property then GO FOR IT< IT'S NEVER GONNA GO AWAY.

I'm screwed

I got busted recently with about 1 small bowl worth of weed. I also had 3 pipes--1 mine, 2 were a friends. Cops were called to my house because my niece and wife got into a fistfight. Wife was pissed at me, so she told cops I had weed and gave them permission to search. I tried to ditch it but cop was looking in the open door as I walked past to stash it. He went right to the spot and found it. I work at the local Car-X. Ya, you guessed it. Mandatory license suspension for 6 months - 5 years. And yes, I need a drivers license to keep my job. So I'm looking at 6 months in jail, a $1000 fine, losing my licence for 6 months to 5 years, losing my job, losing my apartment and having to quit smoking weed. All for 1 fucking bowl. This is bullshit, I tell ya. Decriminalize the shit and leave the occasional smokers alone. I never bothered nobody. Fucking bullshit !!

I hear ya

about the same thing happend to me, I had a poss charge from 16 years ago, then cops found a small hitter in my back pocket, scraped the end out and called the resin in it pot, then charged me with a felony poss of pot, and poss of pariph, ended up with 3 yr probation, no dl for 6mo, over 3 grand in costs, got revoked for driving, and failing drug tests though, "not that I tryed to pass them" and served 80 days in jail to end it all. the more your in the system the harder it is on you it seems, it hurt me and my family in alot of ways besides the money, and driing,"we lived out of town" Now I live on the other side of the state to get away from the petty bullshit that the cops in Door County want to put people through, its such a money maker I doubt the laws will ever change. I dont drink, or do anything but smoke weed. I agree with other posts here to say the gov should take more time to focus on real criminals and signifigant crimes, not be so hipacritical cause most cops smoke pot too, Peace out
[email protected]

idiots

There are bigger and better things to worry about than pot. I hate the U.S. cuz we have no freedom and you have a bunch of brain washed idiots that think everyone should be locked away if you don't do this or that. How about we take judges, doctors, athletes and test them all for drugs. Then lock them up for 5 years in prison and see how they feel. How about worry about the environment, or about the neighbor thats beating his wife and kids.

I would agree...

I happen to agree with "idiots". The people that tend to lead our communities, i.e. older, "wiser" etc., are more than likely closet smokers. Granted that's a generalized statement, but personally I don't get reefer madness. If a person is sensible enough to do in one's home what they want, what is the difference to the public at large? Sure, there is a problem with marijuana and kids, but so is alcohol and far worse substances. If marijuana weren't a controlled substance, but a substance that was controlled (18+ yrs. old anyone?), the effects would be far reaching. No longer will you have Mr. Nice guy who instead of chugging beer after work, smokes a joint and grills a steak living in fear of police raiding the house to take a gram of weed and lock him up. If citizens were allowed to grow their own just the same as a geranium, would there be so much more demand that gun toting mexicans (again a generalized statement) would be running for the border to make a profit? The U.S. of great A...I shake my head sometimes.

Its illegal to get caught, not to smoke..

Personally i think that weed is a completely harmless substance and should not be dealt with like this. If people wanna go home after working 10 hours and smoke a joint or a bowl, so be it. its not hurting anyone. There are so many things that are fucked up in this world that we should be worrying about instead of a simple plant that gets you high. people are getting murdered, raped, kidnapped and much more worse, and our government is sitting around finding ways to get rid of weed. HOW FUCKING STUPID!

I personally feel...

If marijuana was decriminalized across the U.S. we would become a better, happier and more prosperous nation than ever before. Fuck people who had everything they wanted all their lives. Sometimes people just need to smoke a bowl or rip a joint to cure their anxiety and stresses of life. As for those that don't smoke, it's O.K. Please don't hate on marijuana users. We aren't trying to hurt anybody. All we hope for is the day that our bitchass american government doesn't give a fuk about regular citizens smoking up. What ever happened to the freedom that this so called nation was built upon?

this is how i feel.. if anybody cares

I guess you can term pot users a "crowd" now, because it sure as hell seems like we are being stereotyped.
as for decriminalization, congress should sure as hell pass the bill. i've talked to some p.o's myself, and, though these cops are only from my county, they dont really give a rats ass if we smoke up in our houses.

just be smart about it for now, i guess.

Thank God for prop. 218

It looks like wisconsin lawmakers could learn a thing or two from the golden state of california. In 1996 we adopted prop. 218 i.e. medical marijuana. Now contrary to popular belief you don't have to have any life threatening ailments to recieve a license. Most "Pharmacies" have
"doctor " on premise who 9 times out of 10 issue a prescription for anything from insomnia to anxiety. Now you can walk into any cannabis club in your neighborhood... and boy are they in abundant supply, and pick up your "medicine". The police praise it, the state is making millions in tax revenue from the clubs, and us californians have our pick of the freshest strains of high grade buds. Unfortunately i have to move back WI for a while, luckily i don't smoke that much anymore. But being the mischievious prick that i am, i will roll fat ass tobacco cigs that look like joints and start walking around my neighborhood puffin away, that should get em worked up a bit

Marijuana and other drug use?

To all of you who think marijuana is a "gateway drug" and therefore shouldn't be legalized please give me one minute to argue.
Marijuana itself is not a gateway drug. The gateway comes when someone needs to a bag illegaly from a drug dealer. Most likely a marijuana dealer is going to sell other drugs. If someone can get marijuana from a pharmacy they will never have to interact with drug dealers therefore not getting into other drugs. When i smoke marijuana I don't think "Hey, lets go get some Cocaine" my thinking lies more along the lines of "Lets eat and watch tv". Now switch the marijuana with alcohol and I'm goin to get that Cocaine. If anything Alcohol, (AKA Liquid courage) will give you the guts to try something new or open the gateway. All this "marijuana is bad" talk needs to stop!
People are missing out on medicine that could make them feel better without being physically addicted to it. If you want to call anything gateway, call Oxycontin a gateway to heroin, call ritalin a gateway to cocaine, call xanax a gateway to death, but u can only truly call marijuana a gateway to feeling better.

Marijuana is CRACK, you morons! $#@^!!!

How can you all even excuse marijuana as being medicine?
It is a hardcore drug just like Crack! I knew someone who smoked marijuana and he died of a Crack overdose cause the marijuana had crack mixed in with it, like it always does. So don't tell me Marijuana is not a Gateway drug cause it is! People put heroin and crack in marijuana to get you all hooked on it. Trust me I know this is a fact! I saw it in a video. Plus John McCain said it's not a medicine, so it cant be. Go try to get high on Aerosal spray cans, it's way safer than killing yourself with marijuana, the devils plant.

how foolish

can you please just listen to the garbage you are spewing?
John McCain said it, so it's right?
keep in mind, he's a republican, and old. two aspects that qualify a person who is incredibly behind the times, and no doubt moronic.
It's not the devils plant, its a beautiful thing.
go drink a beer, you goddamn redneck.

dumbass

dude, why would a drug dealer put crack in your weed? is it to loose money mabe? or mabe hes just a nice guy and wants to spend money on his customers. And r u f**ing stupid? go get high on aerosal cans? u think weed is gunna kill you and you say get high on aerosal cans? ok dude, buy a can of spray paint and see how long it takes for you to pass out, get brain dammage or die. Marijuana does not give you brain dammage, it can not kill you in fact they use it for the treatment of some cancers. my uncle has glacoma(sorry for spelling) and according to him if he dosent smoke marijuana the pain is ubareable, and it is a good subsitute to eating ten pain pills a day that make him sick. to me it sounds like if anything it helps people. o and for your friend that died from a crack over-dose by smoking weed, mabe if weed was legal and you got your pot from a store your friend might be alive.
got anything to say to that dumbass? my email is [email protected] if you got a problem

Really.

I thought the subject of this... "Marijuana is CRACK, you morons! $#@^!!!" was completely sarcastic at first.

It...is...crack?! WOW. News to me. Pretty sure crack is more addictive than anything else, and I sure am not addicted in the least to weed... I mean crack.

Every statement in this entry is moronic, contrary to how you're calling weed-smokers morons.

Weed ALWAYS has crack in it? Oh. Alright. I believe you.
...weed is rarely laced with anything, and when dealers do lace it with something, they have a reputation for doing that. SO YOU DON'T BUY FROM THEM. You buy from people you trust. Like you would trust people with anything else.

"Trust me I know this is a fact! I saw it in a video."
HAHAHAHA

oh I trust you.

"Plus John McCain said it's not a medicine, so it cant be."
Right. None of his ideas or statements have flaws.
...

And I'll go huff some spray paint now... A LOT safer than smoking a joint. Again... you're right.

Wow! you my friend are a

Wow! you my friend are a little on the sheltered side. Ive consumed my fair share and it has never once contained another drug in combination. Sounds to me like your friend talked to the wrong person on the wrong day. Maybe if he had better knowledge of the product and what it should look and smell like he wouldnt have died. And again if the shit were decriminalized and you could get it from a medical vendor then you would never have to worry about sketchy dealers, and the bud would be inspected there so it would meet safety regulations like: No bugs, or mold, or "other drugs"! Only marijuana with a certain strain and delta9 tetrahydrocanibonol content would be sold. There is a science to it. I would venture to say that I've met people that smoke 5 or more bowls a day that are much more academically inclined than you good sir. So please think before you speak next time. Do some homework! Especially before you consume a drug into your body. You might be surprised to know that thc reacts with your brain faster than your dendrites and axons can send and receive neurotransmisions. It also is a medicine you dick. chemotherapy causes an illness and pain the likes of which you could never fathom, and marijuana eases their pain, increases their hunger and ability to eat, and let's them rest. There are also studies which prove that a concentrated dose of thc can slow the growth of tumors and in some cases it even cause the cancerous cells to die. Marijuana also slows over firing synapses in the brain that cause seizers in patients with palsy and epilepsy. Today you've gained a little knowledge into the beneficial results of marijuana and the chemical delta8/delta9 tetrahyrocanabinol have a good life, live long and prosper and remember "my choice is what I choose to do and if I'm causing no harm then it shouldnt bother you."

Understand...

With the money that it takes to imprison all these "drug abusers" the country could have sent all of them to school and in the end bettered the econonmy. Instead the dealers and users go in flate broke and come out flat broke do nothing but collecting tax payer's money. Yes, Marijuana is a drug, but when was the last time you heard of anybody selling their house hold items for a bag?

crack makes phenes not weed

^^ take notes and learn what your talking about.

It is what it is

God said the bad plants go into the fire. Well idk if mj is bad or not. But if it is we oughta inhale it. Personally i think its good and gets one closer to Jesus. Its the 5-0 that turns a peaceful pot user into a "i wanna take out the popo while i listen to my rap music" Seriously, if i was a cop or the president. I'd just blaze. But I'm not a dick in the booty ass ho nor am I muslim..

wat do you think about this

im 17 and i occasionally smoke up. one day school was cancelled so one of my old friends called me up and i went over to smoke. we decided to go to minnesota to go shopping and get high on the way. i dont like drivin in big cities so i let my friend drive the car. he thinks it would be cool to see how fast we can get there and back. i told him to slow down but he was like i do this all the time. so we are on the highway goin 90 and smokin..(not smart at all) its his weed and his pipe but i had it in my pocket because i was packin the bowl. then a cop pulls along side of us and my friend throws me the pipe, so now i have the weed and the pipe..i ended up gettin a possesion charge and paraphenalia. im not sure wats going to happen though i have court in a couple days. i know smokin in the car wasnt smart. but the guy that was drivin is a dropout who does other drugs and shit and he just gets a speedin ticket. so now i lose my license have fines and fees and that fucks me up cause i need my license and shit

legalize it

people who are against are so fucken ignorant and stupid. try it before you want to talk shit about us people who love to do it.

if every state would legalize it, it would save our country billions of dollars.

EVEN PRESIDENT OBAMA TOKED UP BEFORE!! so fucken get off our backs if your against it.

personally

regardless of what anyone says, the only thing that is going to change a persons opinion on marijuana is themselves. growing up and seein all the "above the influence" commericals and having speakers come to my school and tell us it was wrong, i naturally did not approve of it. But I live my life feeling that i should try everything once and so when presented with tha chance i tried weed an loved it...that was 5 years ago
Well i'm still alive, still havent killed anyone or myself, i'm in college and have a cum of 3.0. I still have all my friends, spend time with my family and have a clean legal record.
marijuana has its negatives just as anything else does but the question is do its positives out weigh the negatives. I believe they do. It is obvious that the war on drugs is a waste of money because for the last nearly 20 years it has been americas goal to irradicate marijuana, yet its still prevelant in almost every part of our society. And anyone who approves of the legal sale and regulation of alcohol and tobacco but still feels that possesion of marijuana should land a person with a criminal record is a hypocrite

Why Wisconsin needs To decriminalize Marijuana

I'm no master blogger but, Wisconsin needs all the help
it can get. Legalization would reduce crime and alcohol
consumption, because of a favored alternative that's legal.
Wisconsin has allot of land that could be used to harvest
the largest cash crop in America. Giving more jobs to tend
farms, dispensary, and opening a whole new venue of business's.

If there's any petition out there pass it around...

Wisconsin is the #1 consumption state, with fatality to prove it

http://www.duiattorneyhome.com/DUI/Drunk-Driving-Statistics

http://www.co.la-crosse.wi.us/Minutes%20and%20Agendas/2009/Agendas/Stand...

TWO AND A HALF TIMES NY'S MURDER RATE

http://www.620wtmj.com/shows/charliesykes/45111282.html

Wisconsin's unemployment rate hits 27-year high of 9.4%

http://www.jsonline.com/business/43111002.html

_AMEN-

_AMEN-

marijuana laws

im all for decriminalization, but people just are always stupid with the way they go about smoking marijuana, i smoke allot. almost daily, but i am responsible about it. just know what you are doing when you handle and use it.

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