OSHKOSH — The Oshkosh Common Council passed an ordinance Tuesday that lowers the fine for first-offense cannabis possession from $200 to $75, plus court fees.
Council members passed amended ordinance 21-467 with a vote of 6-1. Deputy Mayor Matt Mugerauer cast the one vote against the measure, but did not speak on his decision during the meeting, according to local news outlets.
Oshkosh is following a trend among Wisconsin municipalities and counties towards decriminalizing marijuana, though the Republican-controlled state legislature has not recently been responsive to legalizing the Schedule I drug under federal laws.
Back in March, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution 16-1 that decreases the fine for possessing cannabis to $1. The resolution’s lead sponsor, Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, argued that many people could not afford the fines – and that the fines unfairly impacted people of color.
The Milwaukee County resolution cited an American Civil Liberties Union report that argues Black people are 4.2 times more likely than white people to be arrested for cannabis possession in Wisconsin.
The fine in Milwaukee County had been $275 plus legal fees before the resolution.
Most of Wisconsin’s neighbors have already taken action. Illinois and Michigan have made cannabis legal recreationally and medically, while Minnesota has made it legal for medical purposes. Only Iowa has not passed similar laws.
Cannabis is still illegal under federal law.