cannabisnews.com: Explained: Why Are Ann Arbor's Pot Laws So Lax?





Explained: Why Are Ann Arbor's Pot Laws So Lax?
Posted by CN Staff on January 17, 2008 at 06:41:10 PT
By Nicole Watkins, Daily Staff Reporter 
Source: Michigan Daily 
Michigan -- Across the nation, marijuana use and possession is a criminal offense with daunting consequences. Outside of the boundaries of Ann Arbor, carrying just the slightest amount of the popular drug results in expensive fines and possible jail time. But inside the city limits marijuana laws are much more lenient.
Although federal law charges $1,000 in fines and up to one year of jail time for first offenses, first-time marijuana possession of less than two ounces is only a civil infraction - rather than misdemeanor or felony - and carries a $25 fine with no jail time or probation in Ann Arbor.Ann Arbor boasts some of the most lax pot laws in the nation, leaving some wondering why.Local historian Wystan Stevens said it all goes back to the legacy of John Sinclair in the late 1960s and early 1970s.John Sinclair, a poet and cultural activist living in Ann Arbor, was arrested and imprisoned for attempting to sell two joints to two undercover cops in July 1969. Sinclair was sentenced to ten years in a state prison.Sinclair's strict punishment provoked the "Free John Now Rally." On Dec. 10, 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono led upwards of 15,000 supporters to rise against Sinclair's sentence at Crisler Arena.Three days after the uproar, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered Sinclair, after just 29 months in jail, to be released under the claim that Michigan's marijuana statutes were unconstitutional and void.Sinclair also sparked a local tradition: Hash Bash.On April 1, 1972, the "first of the Hash Bashes was held to publicize Sinclair's plight," Stevens said. "Later on that year, the Ann Arbor City Council overrode the state laws, making marijuana possession a $5 fine."Hash Bash has been an annual event ever since.In 1990, the fine was raised to $25 after mayor Gerald Jernigan called the initial law "an embarrassment." Second offenses carry a $50 fine and third offenses are $100. No marijuana offense in Ann Arbor fines more than $100.Don't go lighting up just yet, though. Because the University is a state institution, much stricter state laws apply to on-campus offenders. State law classifies marijuana use as a misdemeanor punishable with a $100 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Source: Michigan Daily (MI Edu)Author: Nicole Watkins, Daily Staff Reporter Published: January 17, 2008Copyright: 2008 The Michigan DailyContact: daily.letters umich.eduWebsite: http://www.michigandaily.com/ CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help




Comment #7 posted by FoM on January 21, 2008 at 11:07:34 PT
rchandar 
I believe it worked for my state. 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #6 posted by rchandar on January 21, 2008 at 10:55:49 PT:
State Governance
I may have mentioned this before. In reality, going at the state statutes on marijuana may indeed be the best way to go.Twelve states decriminalized pot; these motions were largely passed during the 1970s. After that, no state initiative has succeeded in passing. In reality, this is the way to go: the federal law may be harder to tackle, but convincing state attorneys and state representatives to eliminate criminal penalties is probably more realizable for many reasons. The first of these is the clogged state of today's probation/parole departments, and the lack of success of rehabilitation programs. Decrim is one way that the state still earns money without penalizing the user with a criminal record or any process of "re-education." It's symbolic of a modernizing society that realizes its diversity. Second reason: the state governments would have greater control over their individual populations. Federal law is not uniformly enforced: it is the province of big-time busts, customs, smuggling, grow operations. To pass decrim is to allow states to control the marijuana "question."Twelve states. And so I hear it's up for review in two currently. It's a good step, a step in the right direction.--rchandar 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #5 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 17, 2008 at 20:07:57 PT:
Kucinich talking to Renee from MINORML in 
Ann Arbor last week. Boy do I wish this guy had a chance.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM6xoYzAS2g
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #4 posted by John Tyler on January 17, 2008 at 18:27:47 PT
Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor sounds like a good start for the rest of the state and the country to follow.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #3 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 17, 2008 at 12:27:38 PT:
If you're like me, you've watched this video more
than a couple times. But it's only appropriate to post it here. John Lennon at the "Free John Now Rally""Let him be, Set him free, Breathin air like you and me".http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgr9YDDdcQEAnd here's a video of a snowy Hash Bash last year. You can spot the back of me in there talking to Mike Whitty at one point :) I can't wait for this year's bash, where we can always smoke freely on the streets of Ann Arbor. It's always a nice feeling to be able to smoke literally right in front of the campus security while they can't touch you on city property :)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqEFFkhrw1U
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #2 posted by afterburner on January 17, 2008 at 09:23:27 PT
First I heard of this part:
{
Sinclair's strict punishment provoked the "Free John Now Rally." On Dec. 10, 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono led upwards of 15,000 supporters to rise against Sinclair's sentence at Crisler Arena.Three days after the uproar, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered Sinclair, after just 29 months in jail, to be released under the claim that Michigan's marijuana statutes were unconstitutional and void.
}Did the state of Michigan pass new constitutional 'marijuana statutes' to replace those declared unconstitutional? Inquiring minds want to know. If Michigan did not revise the 'marijuana statutes', then they are still unconstitutional! 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #1 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 17, 2008 at 08:46:17 PT:
Still waiting for the state to make it official 
Patients want pot for pain
By Chris Andrews
GANNETT NEWS SERVICELynn Allen is in a great deal of pain. And he thinks marijuana would ease it.The 51-year-old Williamston man was born with hemophilia and infected with HIV and hepatitis C more than 20 years ago.His greatest pain comes from arthritis related to his hemophilia. He must use a wheelchair to get around. He takes narcotics that help with pain, but they have side effects, including constipation and memory problems. Unless it's legal, he won't use marijuana."I had children in the home, and I didn't want to set a bad example for them," Allen said. "They've since gone off to college, but I just don't think it's a good idea to break the law."Michigan voters will likely decide in November whether to allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana based on the recommendation of a physician.Supporters have turned in nearly half a million petition signatures to the secretary of state's office  they need 304,000 valid signatures to get the issue on the ballot. The state Legislature gets first crack at passing the petition as law, but that seems unlikely. In that case, the question would appear on the November ballot.
Full Article
[ Post Comment ]


Post Comment