The City of Madison will vote on legislation to decriminalize the use of cannabis in the city of Madison during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, is the author and co-sponsor of the legislation, which the Public Safety Review Committee recommended for approval to the Common Council on Oct. 14.
“I am very pleased that the vast majority of the City Council and the mayor co-sponsored the legislation, which guarantees its overwhelming approval at City Council meeting tomorrow night,” Verveer said.
Verveer said he believes that cannabis should be legal and regulated for adults in Wisconsin.
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Verveer said in an advisory referendum in the November 2018 election that over 76% of Dane County voters voted in favor of recreational use of cannabis, which is why he believes its decriminalization is long overdue.
“I am pleased that Madison will largely wipe out any arrest for cannabis, or cannabis-related paraphernalia … so it will greatly diminish the existing discretion that Madison cops have to issue citations for possession of cannabis and for cannabis and drug paraphernalia,” Verveer said.
Tomorrow’s council meeting will discuss three ordinances. The first one generally legalizes relatively minor possession of cannabis in Madison. The second ordinance allows the possession of cannabis and related paraphernalia and the third one makes its use, particularly smoking, illegal in no-smoking zones.
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According to a 20-year study by the Madison Police Department, Verveer said even though the cannabis usage rates in white and Black people are the same, there are higher citations issues to Black people in the city.
“I believe that this overdue reform will allow for an increased trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” Verveer said.
This ordinance has no effect on UW rules, according to Verveer who said students found in possession of cannabis or related paraphernalia within dorms or elsewhere on campus can be cited by the UW Police Department and face academic misconduct.
The ordinance will apply to UW students located anywhere not on the UW campus including in off campus housing. Verveer said, in an email to The Badger Herald, that he purposefully made the legal age 18 of the legislation so that UW students would benefit.