Pubdate: Wed, 28 Aug 2002
Source: Capital Times, The  (WI)
Copyright: 2002 The Capital Times
Author: Progressive Dane Drug Policy Task Force


On behalf of the Progressive Dane Drug Policy Task Force, we thank you for 
an excellent editorial (Rethink Drug Laws, Aug. 23) regarding our State of 
the City Drug Policy Address.

We would like to take this opportunity to commend Dane County District 
Attorney Brian Blanchard for his statement to the Wisconsin State Journal 
that, at the county level (which is his jurisdiction) police should only 
ticket people who have a small amount of marijuana.

Regarding the editorial itself, there is just one clarification that we 
would like to make.  We are calling for the Madison Police Department to 
respect Madison General Ordinance 23.20 regarding casual possession of 
marijuana.  The ordinance does NOT require a citation for casual marijuana 
possession on private property.  Instead, it clearly states that casual 
marijuana possession (defined as up to 28 grams of cannabis resin or up to 
112 grams of marijuana - 1/4 pound) is "not a crime and not subject to 
forfeiture." Casual possession on public property without the 
recommendation of a practitioner may result in "a forfeiture of up to one 
hundred dollars."

The law also states that "a violation of this ordinance is not a crime and 
shall not subject a person found in violation thereof to loss of civil 
rights or to other disabilities imposed upon a person convicted of a crime. 
Not entry or other record may be made which indicates that a person alleged 
or found to have violated this ordinance has been arrested for, charged 
with, prosecuted for, or convicted of a crime."

To read the complete text of the ordinance, visit the city's website at, click on "Madison General Ordinances," search 
for 23.20, and read the whole thing.  Then call your elected officials and 
ask them to support uniform compliance.

Police officials are vested with discretion to choose which body of law 
(city, county, or state) to apply for specific violations.  As Madison 
residents and officials have decided that the prosecution of individuals 
for casual marijuana possession is a waste of resources and of human 
potential, we are calling on the Mayor and/or the Madison Police Department 
itself to issue a directive to Madison police that they comply with 
Ordinance 23.20 across the board for all Madison residents.

In addition to redirecting valuable police resources to crimes that have 
victims, a uniform application of this ordinance in Madison would go a long 
way toward reducing the appearance of racial and economic bias in 
application of drug laws.

Progressive Dane Drug Policy Task Force Madison
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