Marathon County may lower pot fines

Notice of Public Hearing

The January 5th, 2022 meeting to lower pot fines in Marathon County will be held at 2:00 PM in the Marathon County Courthouse Assembly Room. Public comment is part of the agenda and residents supporting the change are asked to attend or contact the members of the committee hearing this issue.


No pun intended, a joint meeting of the Marathon County Public Safety and Health and Humans Services Committees will discuss a proposal to lower financial penalties for possession or use of 25 grams or less of marijuana down to a $50 forfeiture plus court costs.


Current marijuana decriminalization, as currently laid out in Marathon County’s code of ordinances, include a fine of between $5-500 as determined by a judge along with the costs of prosecution. The punishment can also include up to 90 days of jail time if those penalties aren’t paid. Note that the District Attorney has the ultimate choice on if to apply state criminal charges or local ordinances violations.

The power

At the local level, Wisconsin is comprised of 72 counties and 595 municipalities. These two entities are allowed to govern and make rule by authority for 25 grams of marijuana or less in their jurisdictions. The statute for County Level Decriminalization is 59.54(25)(a)

(25)  Possession of marijuana.

(a) The board may enact and enforce an ordinance to prohibit the possession of marijuana, as defined in s. 961.01 (14), subject to the exceptions in s. 961.41 (3g) (intro.), and provide a forfeiture for a violation of the ordinance; except that if a complaint is issued regarding an allegation of possession of more than 25 grams of marijuana, or possession of any amount of marijuana following a conviction in this state for possession of marijuana, the subject of the complaint may not be prosecuted under this subsection for the same action that is the subject of the complaint unless all of the following occur:

1. The charges for violating the state statute are dismissed or the district attorney declines to prosecute the case.

2. Either the city, village, or town with jurisdiction over the action has no ordinance enacted under s. 66.0107 (1) (bm) in effect or the city, village, or town with jurisdiction over the action has declined to prosecute or has dismissed the charges for the violation of the ordinance enacted under s. 66.0107 (1) (bm).(b) Any ordinance enacted under par. (a) applies in every municipality within the county.

Source for Statue wording quoted above for 59.54(25)a

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