Milwaukee County Board drops fine for marijuana possession to up to $1

This Thursday, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors voted to drop the fine for possession of marijuana and possession and delivery of drug paraphernalia to up to $1, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

"We know that prohibition has caused more harm than the substance itself," said County Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, adding that existing ordinance resulted in many people not being able to afford the fines.

The resolution states that "in achieving racial equity, disparities in the criminal justice system, including marijuana and paraphernalia possession, laws must be eradicated."

Previously, the county's fine for such violations was $275, with required court costs bringing the total fines and fees to $484.

A county fiscal analysis states that the $1 fine would mean the total cost of the violation, once court costs and other fees are added, would be about $140.

The measure applies to possession of 25 grams or less.

"Study after study demonstrates the clear racial disparities that exist regarding marijuana convictions," Alderman Khalif Rainey said in statement. "We must act now to reallocate our public safety resources elsewhere and invest in increased anti-violence and public health services. This is the first step in a long, overdue journey to repair and rebuild our city. Undoing historic injustice will release our economic potential to thrive."