A Mequon resident is trying to convince local officials to eliminate or minimize fines for marijuana use and possession or even to decriminalize marijuana. He contacted me and subsequently has suggested that I am open to his position. I want to clarify what I said.
I told the resident that marijuana is a state and federal issue and not a local issue. Therefore, like other issues that have no bearing on the operation of our community, I am not going to take a position. I do not believe local government should chime in on issues that have nothing to do with the proper role of local government.
The resident suggested that there is a groundswell of support for his position and that there are (unnamed) aldermen who agree with him. I told him that any aldermen is free to propose a change. I did not, and do not, suggest that any alderman should do so.
To be clear, I am certain that local government has no authority to decriminalize marijuana use or possession. State government defines crimes.
Also to be clear, I would strenuously oppose any local proposal that would be inconsistent with state law. As I told the resident, state law requires the mayor to “take care that city ordinances and state laws are observed and enforced.”
The City and its law enforcement officers should not treat people who violate marijuana laws differently than violators of other similar laws.
The issue of medical marijuana use, or the use of marijuana generally, should be decided by our state government, not by city government. We should not have a patchwork of inconsistent local laws. I am not an elected state official; therefore, I am not going to take a public position on how the state should handle these issues. I am not going to get involved in an issue that would be so divisive when it is not the proper role of the City.