By Janie Hodny, Olivia Ryan, Matt Seger & Byron Garcia-Ortiz
The city of Green Bay has recently changed their fines for possession of Cannabis to only $62 in court fees if the person is 21 years of age and it is less than 28 grams of Cannabis. It was brought to a unanimous vote and took less than 10 minutes to pass.
Students or staff may be thinking that possession of marijuana on the University of Green Bay-Wisconsin campus is now acceptable due to the law change, but that is not the case. According to Officer Tony Decker, “The City of Green Bay forfeiture reductions do not affect University lands and our policies…” Decker also explains that when it comes to processing possession on campus, officers now have “broader discretion on citing individuals upon their first offense.”
It is stated, however, that if you were to be charged with a second count of possession, that would result in a felony with a possible sentence of up to 3 years in prison. The charges for marijuana paraphernalia or devices for smoking marijuana also fall in line with the changes to the possession laws.
In terms of where citizens can possess marijuana in the city can be in both private and public spaces as long as they are not driving. Smoking marijuana is not allowed in public, and parked cars in public spaces are not seen as private under the city ordinance. To get a better insight, we sent an anonymous survey to the public, asking questions about how they felt about the change.
We created a survey and sent it out to the students of UWGB and got 15 responses. 80% of students said they support the new regulations. A student said, “Penalties should not be so great because cannabis is legal in so many other states. It is time to make the switch and follow suit of other states.” another said, “Tax money from the sales of cannabis can be used to improve schools and fix roads among many other things..”
However, not every student is for this change. Some students expressed concerns stating, “I do not think marijuana is something that college students need, and this law is only encouraging them that they would only have to pay minor fees.” 33 percent of the surveyors believe crime will go up as a result of this new ordinance.
It is still to be determined in the future whether the city of Green Bay will vote to end marijuana criminalization and give more freedom to the use of Marijuana in both public and private spaces. Marijuana was recently legalized in Michigan, with Wisconsin natives traveling to the neighboring state to bring over-purchased goods of the drug. Wisconsin’s new relaxed possession laws could mean there will be more change to the idea of how unlawful Marijuana is seen in society.