The Stevens Point city council has voted to drop the fine for first-time possession of small amounts of marijuana from $300 dollars to $100 dollars, or the equivalent of an underage drinking fine. Supporters and opponents spoke prior to the 7-4 vote at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
“Harmful drugs do exist in Stevens Point,” supprter Ben Kollock said. “There’s heroin, there’s cocaine, there’s things that take lives that do a gigantic detriment to our society. But, because someone uses marijuana, that does not put them in that same category of someone who’s going to steal things from you or commit a crime.”
Pete Shuda spoke against the change, arguing his neighborhood already has a drug problem and this would make it worse. “If the city approves this, I make a motion that the city change their logo from ‘Gateway to the Pineries’ to the ‘Gateway to hard drugs.'”
Alderperson Mary Kneebone supported the change, saying there is a bigger drug problem than marijuana in the city. “I think some of the biggest purveyors of illegal drugs in our community are Walgreens and the Copp’s Phamacy with kids abusing prescription pain killers and muscle relaxers and things like that, and I think education goes a whole lot farther than punitive fines that are, I think, not in line with the offense.”