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Winnebago County considers reducing marijuana fine to just $1

Marijuana (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
Marijuana (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
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WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Wis. (WLUK) -- A Winnebago County board supervisor is pushing an ordinance that would reduce simple marijuana possession to a $1 fine.

The county's Judiciary and Public Safety Committee considered the measure Monday night.

Prior to Monday’s meeting, Supv. Brian Defferding, District 6, spoke on why he believes this should happen.

“The ordinance would adjust the county penalties for cannabis and THC down to $1 for up to 25 grams. Then after 25 grams, then it would follow the state statutes. And the state statutes, it would then be a felony charge," says Defferding.

The ordinance also provides the same exception for paraphernalia.

“We have to ask ourselves, 'Is this really worth our taxpayer dollars to pursue? Is it really worth our taxpayer dollars to criminalize and incarcerate people over just simply cannabis possession?'" says Defferding.

Although, it does pose concern for the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office.

“I think it puts the officers and the deputies in a bit of a bind to make that determination on what they are going to do for a $1 fine, which is why I think legislating at the county level can be dangerous," says Winnebago County Sheriff John Matz.

The public was also able to make comments at the meeting.

"I think it may be a little premature to discuss it here at this time. I would say if there was the ability to hold off on this until, let's say the fall era," said State Rep. Nate Gustafson, R-55th District.

"I definitely don't think we should push it back. Whether or not the state plans to act on the matter of marijuana legalization is irrelevant," said a Winnebago County resident.

Matz has concerns about the 25-gram amount.

"With 28 grams, you could make 60 joints or 90 bowls. Now, that's much more than what I would consider to be personal use," says Matz.

Matz says that amount could encourage selling.

"In my personal opinion, I think people should be able to grow it in their backyard and sell it in their front yard," says Defferding.

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At the meeting Monday night, the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee postponed further discussion until August.

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