Oshkosh lowers fine for pot possession

The City of Oshkosh is lowering its fine for possessing a small amount of marijuana.

The city council voted six to one on the measure Tuesday night.

After Tuesday’s Oshkosh City Council meeting, the fine for first offense possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana will be $200. That’s down from a $325 fine.

Mark Kelderman told FOX 11 News it’s a very small step in the right direction.

“We had 3,700 people that signed up for 25. They didn’t sign up for 200,” he said.

Kelderman is part of a group called Decriminalize Oshkosh. He’s referring to a petition the organization circulated asking the city to lower the first time fine all the way down to $25 dollars.

Kelderman told us progressive states and cities are embracing marijuana.

“It’s a safe alternative to opiates. It’s proven beneficial for so many people, you know, across the spectrum of illnesses. I won’t enumerate them all now. They’re well-known and well-documented,” he explained.

Mayor Steve Cummings was the only council member to vote against lowering the fine to $200.

“I think by reducing, by reducing a fine, what you’re really doing, you’re condoning illegal behavior, almost encouraging it. If the fine is enough that it hurts, maybe they’ll realize that it isn’t worth breaking the law,” Cummings explained.

Cummings told FOX 11 it’s not up to cities to change laws. He said that’s up to legislators in Madison.

“There’s a law in the state of Wisconsin. If you break the law there are consequences and there are penalties,” Cummings told us.

But Kelderman said cities can send a message to Madison by taking steps like lowering fines. He toldus this will not be the end of the movement to get the number down to $25.

“You know, we’re not done yet,” Kelderman remarked.

The council considered lowering the fine to $150, but only three of the seven council members voted to approve that part of the measure.

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