Possession of Marijuana Convictions in Wisconsin

Analysis by Branden DuPont

 

Prosecutorial

Performance

Indicators

Analysis Background

  • "Gov. Tony Evers... announced his 2021-23 biennial budget proposes regulating and taxing marijuana much like Wisconsin regulates and taxes alcohol."
  • "...Wisconsin would join 15 [red and blue] states, including neighboring Michigan and Illinois, in legalizing recreational marijuana. "
  • Marquette Law School Poll: 60% Wisconsin residents support full legalization and 85% support medicinal marijuana.

Milwaukee County DA Stance on Marijuana Legalization

  • Review of MCDA's last public stance January 2019:
    • "favors marijuana legalization if there are adequate implementation and regulatory structures in place"-Urban Milwaukee
    • Not a "super-legislator" will continued to narrowly issue charges in possession of marijuana cases with violence/guns

Analysis Focus

  • Overview County and State Trends
    • How have marijuana possession arrest and conviction trends changed over 10 years in Milwaukee and Wisconsin?
    • Drivers of change: police vs prosecutor decisions
    • Distribution by race/ethnicity
    • Not an exhaustive report

Definitions

  • Any Possession of Marijuana Conviction - conviction and any other charge.
    • Most common charge combinations are drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, and bail jumping (~44% of cases w/non-possession charge)
  • Possession of marijuana includes possession of marijuana - 961.41(3g)(e) and synthetic cannabanoids - 961.41(3g)(em).
  • Only Marijuana Possession Convictions - both felony (2nd and subsequent) and misdemeanor convictions.
  • Misdemeanor Only Marijuana Convictions -  misdemeanor convictions.
  • Felony Only Marijuana Convictions - felony convictions (2nd and subsequent).
  • UCR Arrest data - Arrest data are derived from publicly available (SRS & NIBRS) reports voluntarily submitted to the FBI.
  • Wisconsin arrests trends remain unchanged

  • Milwaukee county arrests for possession of marijuana have cut in half.

  • Despite the decrease, arrests in Milwaukee County remain high

Possession of Marijuana Arrests Over 10 Years:

2010 - 2019

  • Wisconsin criminal convictions have decreased

  • Milwaukee criminal convictions have dropped.

Possession of Marijuana Convictions Over 10 Years:

2010 - 2019

In Milwaukee, especially since 2015, the decrease in possession of marijuana convictions is driven by prosecutor charging and diversion decisions.

When Milwaukee County is excluded, Wisconsin criminal convictions trends for possession of marijuana remain unchanged

Control for population and include only possession of marijuana offenses

Trends in Racial And Ethnic Disparities

Racial Disparities Persist in Possession of Marijuana Arrests

  • National ACLU Report on Marijuana Possession Arrests (2010-2018)
    • Statewide: Black people are 4.2 times more likely than white people
    • Milwaukee County: Black people are 3.2 times more likely than white people
    • Worst disparity: Ozaukee County (34.9 more likely) and Manitowoc (29.9 more likely)

Racial Disparities Persist in Possession of Marijuana Convictions

  • Statewide: Black people are 4.3 times more likely than white people to be convicted
    • 2019, Black people: 14 convictions per 10,000
    • 2019, White people: 3.27 convictions per 10,000
  • A substantial decrease from 2010 where black people were 9.5 times more likely
    • 2010, Black people: 39.23 convictions per 10,000
    • 2010, White people: 4.1 convictions per 10,000

Questions?

Possession of Marijuana Convictions in Wisconsin

By Branden DuPont

Possession of Marijuana Convictions in Wisconsin

How have marijuana possession arrest and conviction trends changed over 10 years in Milwaukee and Wisconsin? Drivers of change: police vs prosecutor decisions Distribution by race/ethnicity

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