Wisconsin is one of 13 states remaining without medical or adult-use cannabis legalization, but a pair of indications this week point toward growing support for reform.

In Green Bay, the state’s third-largest city, officials approved changes to an ordinance relating to cannabis possession. The city’s Common Council members voted unanimously March 1 to lower fines to $0 for possession of 28 grams or less of cannabis in public or private spaces for those 21 and older. Offenders would only be responsible for $61 in court costs under the changes.

The current ordinance sets a maximum penalty at $500 for possession of 28 grams or less of cannabis with no distinction in penalties for minors.

Also this week, Marquette Law School pollsters revealed the results from a recent survey that shows 61% of Wisconsinites support cannabis legalization, the highest percentage since the survey began in 2013, while 31% oppose it.

In addition, 51% of Republicans in the state now support cannabis legalization, opposed to 43% who supported it when the question was first asked in 2013. Democrats who support legalization jumped from 53% to 75% in that same timeframe.

Reflecting that growing support for reform in Green Bay, the city’s proposal faces a second vote at the next council meeting before the revised ordinance takes effect, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported.

In additional to possession, the proposal stipulates that any person who consumes cannabis in a private space shall only be subject to court costs, while those who consume in a public space—including motor vehicles parked and not in operation in public spaces—shall forfeit anywhere from $1 to $500 for the violation, or perform community service in lieu of a fine.

The council members also aligned the city’s underage cannabis possession laws with the state’s underage alcohol laws, after District 8 Alder Chris Wery offered an amendment to the original proposal, Wisconsin NPR reported.

First-time underage offenders of Green Bay’s cannabis possession ordinance would be subject to fines between $100 and $200, plus court costs, while repeat offenders would be subject to increasing fine amounts.

The proposed changes to the city’s possession ordinance puts it in line with other Wisconsin communities, such as Milwaukee County, which only has a $1 fine for cannabis possession, according to NPR.

On the broader state scope, Wisconsin lawmakers proposed a bipartisan cannabis decriminalization bill in November that aims to reduce the possession fine for 14 grams or less of cannabis to a $100 civil forfeiture. Under current state law, first-time cannabis possession offenses are a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

Since 2010, according to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office, an average of 15,485 arrests are made per year for cannabis possession in Wisconsin. 

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