$1 pot fine: What it means for Eau Claire
The Eau Claire City Council passed a controversial item Tuesday evening, which would lower penalties for possession of marijuana.
The new ordinance reduces the citation for possession for first-time offenders to just one dollar.
For first time offenders, they will be charged the dollar, along with court fees totaling to about $148. The offense will stay on their record.
There is also an alternative. First time offenders can choose to pay a higher fee of $200 and go through a diversion program. The program is designed at keeping low risk offenders out of the criminal justice system.
Eau Claire City Council member, Terry Weld, said the new fine doesn’t change the fact that marijuana is still illegal in Wisconsin.
Eau Claire Police Chief, Gerald Staniszewski, said in a statement:
"The community must have confidence that the police department enforces existing laws fairly, impartially and consistently. I cannot give direction to our police officers to ignore behavior which is a violation of local, state, or federal law."
Staniszewski also says, the police department does not have a team of officers looking for people in possession of marijuana, but it does enforce the current laws if it is discovered during the course of an investigation.