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Marijuana: Grassroots Protest in Small Town Wisconsin After Drug Bust

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #477)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

When police in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, wrapped up a 16-month investigation into the drug trade there, they patted themselves on the back for rolling up 62 people, mostly in their twenties, mostly for small-time sales of marijuana and prescription pills. But while police got some expressions of community support, not everyone was happy.

On Monday, for the second time in as many weeks, a handful of teenaged protestors gathered near the courthouse downtown to protest the busts and call for the legalization of marijuana. According to the Stevens Point Journal, the young demonstrators held up signs reading "Be Wise, Legalize," and "Hemp Can Save the World" as passing motorists honked in support.

"People should be able to choose what goes in their body," said Ben Eisner, 18. "Caffeine has more deaths per year than marijuana," he told the newspaper. Legalization would promote healthier user habits, he said. "With legalization comes responsibility," Eisner said.

"I think it should be used the same way alcohol is used," said Eryn Edelbeck, 17, adding that abuse of alcohol is more damaging to long-term health than marijuana.

And support is broad -- one of the demonstrators, Eleni Schuler, 16, said she has never even used marijuana herself. "I just support the idea," she said.

With their friends and colleagues facing possible long years in prison, the group is vowing to return every week to draw local support, "possibly with the goal of starting a chapter of NORML…" Add another handful to the ranks of the reformers. And with every small town bust, another handful.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

Damn good of the kids in Stevens' Point!!! They are wise beyond their years. It makes sense to distinguish between potheads and kingpins. This same, sane sense might have helped the twenty somethings that were busted. The police are relentless in targeting people who more or less using drugs and selling them to support a habit. Luckily, these small time criminals will be turned into hardcore criminals after leaving prison, if they ever get out. Not only that but they will go on to lead not so productive young lives and be old and institutionalized by the time they get out . Guess who will support them then. The police will surely make straight arrows out of these crooked branches. Great job Stevens' Point P.D. Maybe You should arrest the kids who are protesting. I'm sure they are getting high off the air they are huffing as they scream for support from passers-by. "Legalize it and I will Advertise it.."

Fri, 03/16/2007 - 4:35pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

As a defendant as this "drug bust" in stevens point, i sat in jail with many other of these "dealers". One guy i talked to had 4 felonies riding agaisnt him because he sold a 20 bag, 2 addies and a vicodin. four felonies for less then 40 dollars worth of drugs. I am so glad these police can cath the "big time dealers" of little hick town U.S.A, aka, Stevens fucking Point.

Wed, 03/21/2007 - 8:35pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

as if the word perfect also had an ideal itself. what is the meaning of perfect? there is no perfect.

who says that these people in blue uniforms don'' drink and drive? or smoke weed?
i have a friend who smokes weed with a cop.
i even had a Lincoln county cop tell me himself that the difference is that they look out for eachothertha's why they dont' get caught drinking and driving.

doesnt' that sound more like a gang to you.?
whats' the difference. their blue rags are sponsored and paid for. tha's the difference.

so what wuld it be like with out the cops?? i dont know probably a little mor chaotic; the difference?
i don't know what i dont knwo is that we would still be run on gangs. so what's the point of democracy if it's so corrupt. doing that same shit we all could do. except i think that the difference would eb that if we the people were allowed to govern our own country, we probably would have a fucking revolution!

Mon, 04/30/2007 - 3:30pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

what sucks is the town of winthrop harbor il.this is a town with a police dept that has a goal of making its people criminals.the sad thing is in ten years after they make most of the school age kids criminals with records and destroy the rest of the kids parents income potential or empty there bank accounts fighting them in court for there own petty offenses they will be unable to get a decent job exept being a criminal.this is self destruction and non progressive thinking by any local gov.just look at the town of winthrop harbor in ten years and see the per capita income of this community dive thanks to the police dept and the village trustes thinking they are protecting their community by enforcing petty offenses to such a degree that they are in reality destroying the future of there community.if you are a smart person you will avoid the town of winthrop harbor because the police here are in my opinion are pushed to make as many trafic stops and arrest no matter how petty for income.this town is a hardcore police state so dont spend your money here or else you will be supporting this frame of mind.and if you hear of other towns like winthrop harbor tell others so that we all boycot these towns so that there is an economic impact.basicly what i am saying is avoid spending money in towns where there is the police state state of mind.stay safe friends

Sat, 05/26/2007 - 4:28pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I was detained for no reason once in winthrop harbor. Then it became 11pm they got me for curfue. They held me after curfue. A town with 12 people and 1200 cops.

Wed, 10/22/2008 - 6:15pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

seems all over small town wisconsin the police are focused on the same tactic, turn every small time pothead into a criminal. the last couple months have had several raids in a town of 9000 mind you. they even did some nazi like tactics about a month back having 30 officers from surrounding counties and d.o.j. as well as 6 canine units swarm the town for 7 hours. after all was said and done they ended up with 5 arrests and only 3 ended up being small quantity drug offenses. wakeup america your country is turning into a police state. my take on this is I think several of these communities are feeling the pinch of spending like fools and now with the economy slowing they are increasing enforcement to make up for lost revenue. truly sad. as a us army vet it sickens me to see so many common people made into criminals. avoid antigo like the plague... if you don't , don't say you weren't warned.

Tue, 08/07/2007 - 8:13am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The government chooses to make Marijuana as well as other drugs illegal, when Marijuna smokers need to buy it illegally making drug dealers money (meaning the government cannot put a tax on the money). So the governments solution is they should spend billions of dollars a year stoping drugs including Marijuana. Simply if it was legal there would be no major drug dealers meaning no one would need to buy Marijuana ending un-taxable money being made. Also no money being wasted on a already failing drug war which is hurting the government more than it is helping it.

Fri, 07/18/2008 - 5:55am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

everyone fights for drugs and shit they just use to get them selves to feel better why cant you do it the old fashioned way it works for just about everyone. yes i believe even marijuanna should stay illegal and infact chewing tobacco cigars and cigarrettes should be illegal everywhere regardless of dependancy its all useless and digs a hole in your pocket for no reason

Fri, 08/22/2008 - 4:11pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

All judges, district attorneys, and police are crooks and skillful con artists that look and sound more honest than honest people look and sound. You can not tell the difference unless you become one of their victims. The risk, due to legal loopholes allowing immunity for judges, district attorneys, and police to disobey the law and not produce justice, is like a rattlesnake sleeping under your bed that could bite you without notice."
Go to
Write in "Liberate Wisconsin First" on your Nov ballet
This is peaceful revolutuion restoring ciizens control of government.
No one should be above the law.

Wed, 10/22/2008 - 6:21pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

We've had our share of raids for the same crap too. Plus we have mysterious college kids who suddenly fall into the Missippi River and drown. Nobody knows why. The colleges have been here for years the bars probably even longer but suddenly people are just falling in and nobody knows why. These kids arn't likely to suddenly want to go swimming alone...that's more of a thing you do with your buds when you're drunk...everybody knows that! So, my point is...La Crosse, A Great Place To Commit A Murder!

Thu, 01/22/2009 - 1:19pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

All the people who have left poorly structured, poorly spelled arguments with terrible grammar, obscenities, and rallying cries don't help the case. We need intelligible arguments, not a statement of how much every small town in Wisconsin sucks.

That being said, I wholeheartedly support the legalization of marijuana. Why? First and foremost, if marijuana is legal, it can be taxed. Our government is struggling with a tanking economy while introducing new reforms that will cost trillions of dollars. Where do we get the money? Well, stop spending so much on monitoring the drug trade, stop spending time and resources on catching petty dealers, and put a tax on marijuana. Putting up all these petty criminals in prison costs a fortune and makes no sense - these people pose no real threat to society. This would also reduce the overcrowding that we have in prisons.

Economic considerations aside, there really can't be an argument that marijuana is any more harmful than any legal drug.

Marijuana's effects: Munchies, decreased attention span, decreased memory, decreased learning ability, impaired decision making skills, some loss of coordination. Not addictive. I might be missing a few.

Alcohol's effects: Extremely impaired decision-making skills, damaged liver and kidney function, can cause diabetes, extreme loss of coordination, decreased memory, very addictive. Tens of thousands of deaths due to addiction or drunk driving each year.

Smoking's effects: Extremely addictive. Decreased lung function/lung cancer/emphysema. Heart disease. Decreased sense of smell and taste. And on and on. We all know the effects of cigarettes.

Anyways, just my bit. Smart people use marijuana and don't die or turn into crack addicts. Let's legalize it.

Wed, 09/02/2009 - 9:56pm Permalink
JOHN RUTGER (not verified)

cedarburg police are a joke they must have all been picked on in high school especially the fat bald head with glasses. Wanna talk about harassment i got pulled over at least 20 times last summer on "suscpision" i accumulated and saved 31 breathalyzer tubes. not even one of these times did i recieve a ticket. police now adays are on a power trip and love to waste the tax payers money on useless investigations that going for several years and result in the arrests or arrest of one or two street level dealers. Why spend thousands of dollars to seize a few ounces what a joke lets follow californias lead and start making some money as a state instead of the never ending cycle of spending , " let me out, let me out, im an angry lion"

Wed, 01/13/2010 - 10:35am Permalink
Confucius (not verified)

This issue with the police has its roots way deeper than you all think....


First of all, how can we respect the law (Weed, traffic, others) when we don't respect those who enforce it.

If the police officers were true pillars of society (some are), the good people of society would respect these individuals as just that...  good people..... people you will go out of your way to NOT get caught by in order not to bother them.

But in reality, we come across many power hungery social misfits......   with no understanding of our situation or way of life.....  instead dependent on a docterine based on outdated information too scared to or not willing to see how their actions (ie. job) affects one's life and truly, they just don't give a .....

Respect from our gov

then we can respect our laws

cause our law by the gov will be for the people

peace and love

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 2:35pm Permalink

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