Our new research finds that arrests of individuals in the City of Milwaukee on charges of possessing small amounts of marijuana (with no simultaneous violation) declined by 53% from 2012 to 2015. In addition, a new protocol developed by the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) and Milwaukee County District Attorney should limit criminal prosecution of low-level marijuana offenders in the future.
Additional key findings:
- Disparities exist with regard to those arrested for marijuana violations in Milwaukee. Of the low-level arrests, 72% involved African Americans, 82% involved individuals under the age of 30, and 88% involved males.
- Arrests are disproportionately occurring in poorer areas of the city.
- Despite the recent Common Council action to lower the maximum fine to $50, MPD officers still arrest all individuals charged with possessing small amounts (versus issuing citations on the street).
- In 2015, the MPD could have saved up to $141,000 and 3,040 hours of officer time if officers had not been required to make arrests.