While many states are easing up on marijuana possession penalties, Wisconsin lawmakers feel the need to make their state tougher on pot. The Wisconsin Assembly this week approved a bill that would allow local municipalities to levy heavier penalties against cannabis users.
As it stands now, pot (and synthetic smokable drugs commonly called “synthetic marijuana”) possession of up 25 grams or less is enforceable at the city level. Anything more than that, and the charges have to be brought by the state or county prosecutors. Republicans, however, want to change that.
Senate Bill 150 would allow local governments to prosecute people for more than 25 grams, as well as allow the cities to prosecute people for second offenses – something they had been barred from doing in the past.
Basically, a city that doesn’t get their way with someone caught with minor amounts of pot through the state courts can try again at the local level.
Unfortunately, the bill already has the support of the state Senate and is now headed to the desk of Gov. Scott Walker – who isn’t necessarily a friend of cannabis users. He’s said in the past that he’s not interested in marijuana legalization and that the only way it would ever be legalized in Wisconsin is through a ballot initiative.
Currently, possession of any amount is a misdemeanor charge with up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. Subsequent offenses are felonies with up to 3.5 years in jail and $10,000 in fines. “Offenders” can also have their driver’s license taken away for up to five years.