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Politics & Government

More information needed before Marathon County considers marijuana forfeiture changes

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Marathon County's Criminal Justice Collaborating Council met Thursday to discuss a proposed reduction in the county's forfeitures for first-time marijuana possession.

The discussion took a turn towards looking at a much larger picture.

“Where do the various violations that are in county ordinance rank, and the other is how does a forfeiture interplay with the state’s system” asked Marathon County Board Chair Kurt Gibbs.

Gibbs says it's an opportunity to look at how forfeitures are structured to make sure taxpayers aren't being saddled with an unneeded burden when it comes to processing the payments.

Gibbs says lowering fines to $50 as proposed may end up costing taxpayers money when it comes to processing.

“Some of that $50 goes to the state automatically because of state mandated forfeiture and fines for court costs and CCAP and other assessments.”

Gibbs says it seems the discussion about how much marijuana should be fined is on hold until they know where the money goes.

“An understanding of how those apply to each potential county ordinance violation is what is needed to understand what the actual impact is to budgets.”

Gibbs says they don't want to move forward with an adjustment in the penalties without understanding its full impact.

Leaders at Thursday's meeting noted that some $50 forfeitures may only net the Marathon County a few pennies after state costs and other fees are paid.

The committee will gather more details about costs and frequency of marijuana violations for their next meeting in March.