An ordinance that would take big steps towards decriminalizing marijuana in Stevens Point will be proposed on Monday, Nov. 13.
The ordinance would lower the penalty for first time possession of less than five grams of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia from $100 to $5.
This change comes after the first offense penalty was already lowered from $300 to $100.
Neither the city’s current ordinance nor the proposed update address the penalty for the second possession of marijuana, meaning that the person would be subjected to state law to determine the penalty.
Currently second possession of marijuana is a felony. However, the city district attorney can always decline to prosecute.
The proposed ordinance will go before the Public Protection Committee next Monday.
If the committee passes the ordinance, it will go before the city council meeting on Nov. 20. If the committee does not pass the ordinance, their decision can be challenged at the council meeting.
Local activist Ben Kollock and Mary McComb, district 9 Alderperson, are the driving forces behind this change in ordinance.
“I don’t know if the effect is going to be very great. Our police are too busy looking for serious stuff to be concerned about marijuana.” McComb said. “It definitely puts us in line with the other municipalities and states even that are decriminalizing it. It puts the law as written in line with the law as its being enforced.”
However, even if the change in ordinance were to go through, students are still subjected to university policy on marijuana use and possession.
Under UWS 18.09(3)(a) possession of marijuana on university property results fine $389.50.
Maddy Ertman, senior psychology major, said, “To me it doesn’t matter either way, but I feel like more people do that one recreationally, especially around here, more than most other drugs.”
McComb pointed out that Stevens Point isn’t the only city in Wisconsin taking the decriminalization of marijuana into its own hands. Toledo, Madison and Monona have already taken substantial steps towards marijuana decriminalization.
Olivia De Valk