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possibility of an open community for
pot dealers in the city as one of the only
But Democratic City Councilman
Jamie Kenworthy said he sees only a
"slim connection" between the small
fine and any "open community"
KRASNY ALSO expressed concern
over a provision of the law which makes
it illegal for city officers to refer a case
to the county prosecutor to be prose-
cuted under state law.
Ypsilanti police are currently waiting
for a decision on their appeal of this
provision in their city's law. Kenworthy
feels the police will win the decision,
and Ann Arbor's fine will be adversely
"Basically the law is working in the
sense that we're not spending a ton of
time on (marijuana) usage," Republi-
ts can Councilman Lou Belcher commen-
"THE REASON we put in a fine is
that we had to have a local law so police
couldn't prosecute under state law,'
GOP council member Ronald
Trowbridge is "fairly content" with the
law. He says there should be "just
enough fine to keep it illegal ... I don't
want a large fine nor people put in jail
- (marijuana smoking) isn't any wor-
se than being caught with a martini, in
the sense that both can be harmful sub-
Kenworthy said he feels the $5 fine is
effective in stopping people from get-
ting busted for possession of dope, and
lets police have more time to handle
"real" crime. The backlog of crimes is
such, Kenworthy added, that it really
hasn't helped much in that area.
"NO ONE GETS fined anymore," one
student commented. Another went so'
far as to suggest, "You'd have to go into
the police station and light up a joint
before they'd fine you."
"I don't perceive Ann Arbor as the
dope capital of the Midwest," Belcher
countered. "I don't think our problem is
any greater than other cities with
"People smoke all the time in dorms
and the diag," explained one student.
"Mostly cops are looking for chemicals
- you' could walk down the street
smoking a jointand they wouldn't fine
you," another said.
DESPITE THESE and similar com-
ments from students it appears that the
total tickets issued in 1977 could run to
250, if these last six months follow the
previous two years' trend.
"It's a law; it. has to be enforced,"
Patrolman Craig Mason said. Though
Mason is not for the legalization of pot,
he still feels that the $5 ticket "doesn't
"Reducing possession of marijuana
to a misdemeanor was sufficient,"
Mason added; but now with the high
cost of paperwork and personnel for
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issuing $5 tickets "the taxpayer is
paying through the nose just so
someone can smoke some grass.'
"IT DOESN'T make much sense to
have this law on a local level when
there is such incredible disparity" bet-
ween the laws in different states, Ken-
worthy commented. He also pointed out
the great differences between the han-
dling of different cases within the same
"The state and county have got to
start decriminalizing and start getting
into uniform charges" for marijuana
possession, and "treat drug abuse as a
"We should say to the police, 'Have
you solved all the other crimes this
week?' " Kenworthy added.
While Kenworthy is in favor of nation
wide legalization, Belcher says he.
doesn't see much difference between
decriminalization and legalization,
though he draws a distinction betwepn
selling and use.
"BOB ALEXANDER, former Human
Rights Party leader and Democratic
activist, said, "Most of these people
don't know what's going on in the real
world. I'm in favor of free marijuana."
Alexander was instrumental in getting
the five-dollar fine on thecity ballot.
Thiough a state House bill that would'
have reduced the penalty for possession
of small amounts of marijuana to $100
and no jail term was defeated on Oc-
tober 6, it appears that the city's own $5
fine is here to stay.
"It's just a tragedy that we couldn't
do more," Alexander said.
"The law is there; whether it does
any good or not I don't know," Mason
said. "If you see it (marijuana) you see
it; if you.don't, you don't."
Apparently, this attitude goes over
well with the city's students, too.
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