Under the new ordinances passed Tuesday night, people 18 and older will be allowed to use or possess up to 28 grams, or about an ounce, of marijuana on public and private property, as long as they have the permission of the property owner, landlord or tenant. Possessing paraphernalia also will not be punished.
Citation fines are being reduced from $50 plus court costs to $1 plus court costs. Heavier penalties still apply for those charged with intent to deliver cannabis.
“It’s been decriminalized even further,” Assistant City Attorney Marci Paulsen said. “You’re permitted to possess and consume marijuana in public places, which before you were not allowed to do that. You have to comply with the smoking ordinance, so it’s not like you can smoke marijuana in a restaurant or a bar, but you could walking down the street now.”
In practice, Paulsen said that could lead to some pretty significant changes.
“Before, the Madison Police Department would write citations for individuals possessing marijuana if they arrested individuals with marijuana on them or if they came across a vehicle with people smoking marijuana,” she said. “Now, they won’t be unless it rises to the level of a state statute violation where it’s a significant possession amount or significant crimes are involved in it.”