Marathon pot law made more flexible
The Village of Marathon City board last week Wednesday voted to give the police department more flexibility when arresting people for drugs. Specifi cally, it revised its ordinances to allow police to charge people suspected of marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession with a municipal violation rather than a crime that would be run through the state/county criminal system.
Police Chief Kory Gertschen asked for the code update.
“This will give us flexibility, that’s all,” he said. “It gives us some options.”
Gertschen said the current code requires officers to bust any minor marijuana possession or possession of drug paraphernalia as a state crime. The local municipal ordinance does not mention the two offenses.
Gertschen said a state criminal record can disqualify high school students for college scholarships and an officer may want such a suspect to face only a municipal citation.
The police chief said prosecution of marijuana has become more difficult because of the hemp industry. He said the chemical used to identify a plant substance as containing THC reacts to both marijuana and hemp. Hemp, a legal industrial product, has a much lower level of THC.
The new ordinance concerns possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana.
In other village board business:
_ Edee Zuleger, spokesperson for the Rib Riders Snowmobile Club, said the club will seek to get Marathon City named as a Snowmobile Friendly Community by the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs.
She said the association names nine communities for the honor each year. Typically, communities in northern Wisconsin get the designation.
Zuleger said it was time for the snowmobiling organization to recognize a community in the center of the state.
She said that Marathon City was friendly to snowmobiling. The village has three certified snowmobile instructors, restaurants, parts stores, taverns and enforces a safe snowmobiling speed limit in the village.
Zuleger said there will be no cost to the village in applying for the Snowmobile Friendly Community award.
_ Village administrator Andy Kurtz said asphalt paving of Market and Fourth Streets would likely have to be postponed to next spring. The American Asphalt plant has been shut down due to cold weather, he said.
Trustee Mark Ahrens said he worried about whether an unblacktopped Fourth Street could take routine truck traffic over the winter.
“It’s going to be a mess,” he said.
_ Board members hired Darren Pagel, Mosinee, to act as deputy building inspector for $100 an hour. Pagel’s first job will be to assess whether a property at 704 Sixth Street must be razed.
_ Board members agreed to hire Norm Fischer as a winter seasonal plow truck driver. Administrator Kurtz said Fischer, a former village employee, would likely work 200 to 250 hours over the winter to help remove snow.
The village did not post the seasonal worker position.