The crime of possessing a small amount of Marijuana (10 grams or less) is changing in Antigo. The fine is increasing, but those found with 10 grams or less of the drug will not have to go through criminal court. They will instead be issued a citation.
An ordinance, approved by the Finance, Personnel, and Legislative Committee was developed after being pushed by Antigo Police Chief Eric Roller. It sets a fine of $200 plus costs for a total of $389. It also sets a forfeiture of $150, exclusive of costs, for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Roller, who helped develop the ordinance, says he hopes it will have a good effect on the community,
"It is still serious and a $400 fine is a lot of money. Hopefully they will take that seriously and realize that it's really not worth it to have Marijuana on you if it could cost you that amount of money."
He says the ordinance will help speed up the process when someone is caught with a small amount of the drug by side-stepping criminal court and using a citation instead.
Roller says the ordinance could generate revenue for the city, because of the higher bond.
He also stressed that the ordinance is completely separate from the recent drug charges involving teachers in antigo. He says that this is in a different category because it concerns a small amount of the drug.
Second and third offenses result in more serious penalties -- a misdemeanor and then felony.