Oshkosh considers reducing fine for pot possession

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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - The issue of marijuana legalization is placing many states at odds with federal authorities when it comes to the issue of enforcement.

Here in Wisconsin there's been a push to lower penalties for pot possession.

Over the past two years there's been an active effort in Oshkosh to reform the city's marijuana ordinance, with 3,700 people signing a petition to reduce the penalty to just $25 for a first-time offender.

While the council hasn't agreed to that request, there is active debate about reducing the existing fine of $350.

Mark Kelderman, who supports legalized marijuana, said, "All ten of the largest cities in Wisconsin have already reduced their penalties, but we're looking to build on that and we're looking to send a message down to the state level. We'd like to see legalization at the state level, to be honest."

The ordinance before the city council would lower the base penalty for a first-offense marijuana possession to $200, but some on the council say that's still too much.

Others, including Mayor Steve Cummings, don't support any change.

Cummings said, "If you're dumb enough to use it, that's one thing. If you're really stupid to get caught, that's another thing. It's the law. We've heard from employers across the state, they can't find workers because people can't pass a drug test."

Other cities to recently drop the fine for marijuana possession include Madison and Milwaukee.

The issue is scheduled to go back before the city council for a possible vote January 23.

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