Black people in Wisconsin make up almost 7% of the state population yet are roughly 40% of Wisconsin’s prison inmates. Lawmakers and community organizers at a press conference Wednesday presented a bill that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. The goal: to reduce the number of people of color in jail.
Just like with the legalization of marijuana, states surrounding Wisconsin have taken steps to also decriminalize possession of the drug. In Wisconsin, some Democratic lawmakers are now hoping to push the state in that direction for small amounts of weed — anything 28 grams or less.
Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is on board.
“Research shows in Wisconsin black people are four times more likely than their white counterparts to be arrested for marijuana offense while also being more likely to serve prison time for it,” Barnes explains. “Even in my home town of Milwaukee, there’s a study that points out how black people make up 72% of marijuana arrests in 40% of the population … despite marijuana use being even across the racial board.” [Read more at WUWM]