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Cannabis Forfeiture

Cannabis, in the flowering stage, grows inside a greenhouse on Feb. 8 in Angels Camp, Calif. The Public Safety and Licensing Committee voted to amend the ordinance setting the marijuana forfeiture to a flat $75 plus court costs instead of the council-approved range of $1 to $75.

RACINE — The Public Safety and Licensing Committee voted to amend the forfeiture for marijuana possession under 25 grams from the City Council-approved range of $1 to $75 to a flat $75 plus court costs.

City Attorney Scott Letteney presented the proposed ordinance to the committee at its meeting Tuesday. He explained that the marijuana directive the council approved last December, which directed Racine Police Department to issue citations for first-time possession offenses under 25 grams instead of state charges, was already in effect.

The proposed ordinance was an update to the existing marijuana ordinance and restructured the forfeiture for those citations to the range the council had approved. The current forfeiture is set at $1,000 plus court costs, which Letteny estimated to total about $1,300.

The proposed ordinance also sets the bond schedule at $75. That means when an officer writes a ticket, the dollar amount on that ticket would be $75 plus court costs.

Letteney explained that the range would only be applicable if someone appeared in court and would only be used by the municipal judge.

“The only time it could be less (than $75) is if they go to court and convince a judge that it should be less,” Letteney told the committee.

Alderman Carrie Glenn of the 10th District took issue with the possibility that someone caught with 25 grams could be fined only $1. Alderman Steve Smetana of the 5th District suggested amending the ordinance so the violation only carries a flat forfeiture of $75.

Smetana and Glenn voted to send the amended ordinance to the City Council for approval. Alderman Maurice Horton of the 7th District voted against the amendment. Alderman Jeff Coe of the 1st District, who chairs the committee, did not vote, and 6th District Alderman Sandy Weidner was not present.

The amended ordinance is set to go before the City Council at its next meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave., Room 205.

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Christina Lieffring covers the Burlington area and the Village of Caledonia. Before moving to Racine, she lived in Nebraska, Beijing, Chicago and grew up in Kansas City.

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