City rejects kratom ban

Staff Writer

The sale and possession of the herbal drug kratom will continue to be legal in West Point.

Selectmen agreed Tuesday night not to approve a ban on the product on second reading.

The board tentatively adopted the measure, which would have imposed a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail for violations, at their April meeting but had to okay it a second time to make it law.

But with little discussion Tuesday night, the board unanimously took no action which leaves regulation to state and federal agencies rather than piecemeal steps by local governments.

Clay County supervisors took a similar approach last week.

The ban has been pushed by a Lowndes County group who made a presentation to selectmen in April. Some 30 cities and counties across the state have approved similar bans. Many of those are duplicative. For instance, Columbus and Caledonia and Lowndes County have approved the same ordinance. The same for Union County and New Albany. Several others still are considering it.

Meanwhile, West Point’s parks and schools are closer to implementing two significant grants.

At their meeting Tuesday night, selectmen authorized advertising for bids for exercise equipment for Zuber and Marshall parks.

The equipment is part of a $105,780 ‘Healthy Heroes’ grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation.

The grant is paying for exercise equipment to be installed near the tennis courts at Zuber Park and the Marshall Park archway at Marshall. Both locations are near the walking tracks and trails in those parks and will offer walkers and exercise buffs an opportunity to supplement their routine with a variety of exercises and mechanics.

The city had hoped to have the equipment in place by early this year, but record rainfall since last October has left the sites at both parks to pour the concrete pads on which the equipment will sit.

The city now hopes the equipment can be in place by mid-summer.

The Foundation grant also paid for police Capt. Virginia Rich and firefighter Leon Kelley to present healthy nutrition and exercise programs to third- and fourth-graders at South Side Elementary each month since last September. The grant paid for their training and supplies.

In the schools grant, selectmen authorized taking bids for security upgrades at all the district’s schools. A $165,000 COPS school violence prevention grant is paying for part of the work which will include new phone systems, intercoms, inter- and intra-school communications and other features.

Bids are due June 10. The work is planned for this summer.