City of La Crosse
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La Crosse attempts to reform marijuana laws again

Back in 2010 and 2011 the City of La Crosse had many conversations about cannabis reform, which ultimately did reform the local decriminalization laws in the city. Hopefully the latest attempt some 10 years later will be met with high support, especially since the 2018 La Crosse County Marijuana Referendum calling for marijuana to be regulated like alcohol passed by 63%.

A La Crosse City councilman wants to reduce the penalties for those caught with small amounts of marijuana.

Current law says any person in possession of seven grams of marijuana or less will not face charges, but rather pay a fine.

13th District Councilman Roger Christians wants to see the seven-gram limit moved to 25 grams (still under an ounce).

On Tuesday night, June 30th, 2020, the code of ordinance regarding possession of marijuana will be discussed at the city’s Judiciary and Administration Committee.

The reduced fine would be set at $1.

“It seems to me, we could at least reduce the fines to one dollar to send the message that, ‘Hey if you gotta do this for personal reasons for your medical situation’, we shouldn’t be looking down and making this illegal,” said Christians.

“We can’t change the state law but we can at least reduce the penalty to one dollar,” Christians added.

This proposition is already adopted in Wisconsin cities like Madison and Eau Claire.

After the proposition is presented to the committee, it will move to the Common Council for a possible vote in July 2020.



La Crosse’s Common Council will vote on decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, or cannabis, after a committee approved the resolution on Tuesday night.

The resolution was approved in a 4 to 2 vote by the Judiciary & Administration Committee, and would reduce charges for possessing 25 grams or less of cannabis to a fine of just $1.

Currently, the small fine is only offered for those who possess seven grams or less, and anything larger could result in criminal misdemeanor charges of up to $1,000 and jail time.

The reform was proposed and sponsored by council member Roger Christians, who said he supports the move because he thinks state leaders are dragging their feet to legalize cannabis when most Wisconsinites support it.

“It’s left to individual municipalities to do whatever they can do,” Christians said.

But he added that it was personal, too, and that he had three friends with chronic pain, one of them with Parkinson’s disease, and his wife, who suffers from pain after a broken bone in her back, who were interested in using it medicinally.

“It can and does help people,” Christians said.

Several members of the public spoke at the meeting in support of the legislation, and La Crosse Chief of Police Shawn Kudron said that his department would comply with any measures that were approved.

One woman spoke to the committee about her arrest in the 1990s for possessing 28 grams of cannabis in La Crosse. She said she lost her job, spent 90 days in jail, lost custody of her children and paid $1,800 in fees.

“It was actually life changing,” she said.

City council member and committee chair Andrea Richmond and council president Martin Gaul both voted against the resolution, though Richmond did not speak on the matter.

Gaul said that while he supports legalizing medical, and possibly recreational, cannabis in Wisconsin, he didn’t support changing the fine in La Crosse for fear of creating an unfair system for those who use the substance.

“I do not believe that this is a subject that is in the purview of the council,” Gaul said. “We are liberalizing the demand side for this product, while the supply side in the state of Wisconsin is still highly illegal.”

“I’d ask the people in Madison to do their damn jobs,” he added.

Similar legislation has passed in other areas across the state, including in nearby Eau Claire, and Madison and some of its suburbs.


The La Crosse Common Council meets the second Thursday of every month at 6:00PM in the Common Council Chambers located on the first floor of City Hall, 400 La Crosse St.

Next meeting is July 9th at 6:00pm. Public Statements are always allowed at Common Council Meetings.

For information on who is and how to contact your City Council members to support this initiative please click HERE.

Wisconsin Marijuana Voter Information
Wisconsin Marijuana Voter Information

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