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Milwaukee Common Council passes ordinance reducing marijuana possession fines

The Milwaukee common Council voted 10 to 3 to reduce marijuana possession fines. The fine is reduced to a maximum of $50.  It falls between $0 and $50 - the discretion would be left to the judge. Alderman Nik Kovac, from Milwaukee's East side, was the lead sponsor of the ordinance. He says it's all about racial disparities surrounding marijuana tickets and arrests. The ACLU of Wisconsin was also pushing for the change. Kovac compares marijuana to alcohol. he says marijuana should be regulated in a similar way.

\"This is not a free for all,\" he said after the vote. \"We do not want the public use of marijuana, just like we don't want the public use of drinking of alcohol at a bus stop or on the sidewalk.\"

He also indicated he wants to legalize it.

\"This is the first step towards making it legal in my opinion,\" Kovac said.

ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director Chris Ahmuty applauded the council's decision.

\"There can be all kinds of consequences for a marijuana conviction, even for a ticket,\" Ahmuty said. \"It can impact employment, your ability to participate in society so there's real harm that comes from excessive fines and enforcement of marijuana laws.\"

Alderman Terry Witkowski, Bob Donovan, and Robert Puente voted against the ordinance.

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