City Council modifies rules for first-time marijuana possession arrests

Police could always write citations, but new fines structure offers more options to felony charges

RACINE — The City Council on Tuesday voted to order the city’s police chief to direct his officers to issue citations for first-time marijuana possession in cases involving under 25 grams. The City Council also approved a range for the fine from $1 to $75.

The city has had an ordinance since 1990 allowing officers to issue citations for marijuana possession of less than 25 grams. But a Journal Times investigation from 2017 found that officers were twice as likely to issue criminal charges in such cases, and that trend has continued.

During Tuesday’s meeting, City Attorney Scott Letteney said that, according to records the city compiled for the discussion, in 2017 police issued 32 citations and 187 felony charges for marijuana possession under 25 grams. To date in 2018, there have been 20 citations and 129 felony charges. Letteney said he did not know if there were any other charges tied to the cases involving felony possession charges.

Read the Racine Journal Times article.

 

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.