“Our local governments and people in these communities have worked very hard to find a way to tackle the blatant ban problem and to propose local solutions that take into account what people in these communities are looking for,” Senator Melissa Agard, D-Madison, said. “I’m worried about the backward movement of this needle.”
Ortiz-Velez, who, as a Milwaukee County inspector earlier this year, advocated lowering the marijuana possession penalty to 25 grams to $ 1, said the nationwide standard removes confusion over which laws apply in which communities.
“If people don’t understand how the laws are applied within the framework of patchwork, it complicates the task,” Ortiz-Velez said at a press conference on Tuesday. “We understand that the compromise is worth it, and it comes from the person who actually made $ 1 in Milwaukee County.”
Eau Claire also slashed custody fines to $ 1, although the total cost eventually approaches $ 148 with legal fees, according to a 2019 Wisconsin Political Forum report.
At the same time, the bill will reduce local fees for possession in other communities, such as Green Bay, where a $ 500 fine is imposed for such an offense. According to the Forum’s report, maximum storage fines in West Ellis can be as high as $ 1,000 and in Vauwatos up to $ 5,000.
Ortiz-Velez said the ultimate goal of the bill is to reduce the number of felony charges issued in the state for those with small amounts of cannabis.