How will Wisconsin cities fatten their budgets in austere times? Create more marijuana felons

What could possibly go wrong with a pending Wisconsin bill that allows cash-strapped city governments to turn more marijuana users into felons and generate hefty fines for their budgets in the process?

“Authored by State Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), Senate Bill 150 and its companion — Assembly Bill 164 — grants municipalities jurisdiction to prosecute repeat offenses of any amount of marijuana possession in cases where either the district attorney has chosen not to prosecute or the state’s complaint against the defendant has been dismissed.

“It doesn’t increase any penalties whatsoever,” Thiesfeldt said. “All it does is clear up a loophole in the law.”

Fond du Lac Police Chief Bill Lamb is all in support of the Bill as it backs the city’s aggressive stance on going after marijuana and all drug offenders, he said.

According to Wisconsin law, first offense possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor, punishable by 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Any subsequent offense is considered a felony, punishable by 3.5 years and or a $10,000 fine.”

Read more at “Thiesfeldt marijuana bill will boost prosecution”

This bill is reportedly on its way to Scott Walker’s desk.

This comes at a time when America’s state governments are going in the OPPOSITE direction and for good reason.

Public opinion is tipping toward legalization of marijuana use. A CBS poll conducted in January showed that fifty-one percent of those asked think the use of marijuana should be made legal, while 44 percent do not.

In October of last year Gallup saw a huge shift in public opinion on this issue.

last three years marijuana use GALLUP

What’s also appalling is that this bill is advancing in Wisconsin – – the state with THE greatest rate of incarceration for black males in the country.*
If you were to ask me “does this bill exacerbate the problem of black male incarceration in Wisconsin?” I would struggle mightily to not yell at you drill instructor-style, “Do you think a bear shits in the fucking woods?!”

Let’s Be Honest: This is Bipartisan Stupidity and/or Cruelty

According to Gary Storck’s June 2013 article in The Examiner, the only group that supported the state senate version of this when it was in committee was the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.

The politicians who supported this in the state senate Economic Development and Local Government committee were:

Sen. Gudex – R [lead supporter]

Sen. Liebham – R
Sen. Petrowski – R
Sen. Lassa – D

Only Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) voted against the bill in committee.

This is not the first time that Senator Julie Lassa has acted against legalization of cannabis.

Back in 2010 I wrote about Julie Lassa’s decision to side with 3 Republicans on the Wisconsin Senate Health Committee who killed a medical marijuana bill. I interviewed the late Ben Masel as he and other activists were preparing to picket Lassa at an event. He was confidant that if the bill had left committee, it would have received enough votes to pass and allow Wisconsin to become the 15th state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

Resources:
Where to get involved with reform of Wisconsin marijuana laws
Wisconsin NORML

NORML – national organization on facebook
Moms for Marijuana International on facebook

The time is now to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin” by ACLU of Wisconsin

*Something local media was not dwelling on one iota until BBC put out a story entitled, “Why does Wisconsin send so many black people to jail?”

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