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July 17, 1975 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-07-17

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Page Six

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Thursday, July 17, 1975

States Ihterntr,
.: F. vi:{:'{i.: Cvv} fo0r m arijuana use

Victorious bull
A would-be matador is hooked and flown in the air by his opponent in the last day of Spain's
annual running of the bulls Monday in Pamplona. The festival, a 400-year-old tradition, resulted
in the death of one man and scores of injuries.

I!

- - _______

By G. G. LaBELLE
Associated Press writer
A Maine legislator stood up
during a debate on easing mari-
juana laws and said he knew
"from personal experience" that
marijuana was harmless. The
remark drew some chuckles and
yawns but little outrage.
The reaction seems to symbo-
lize what is happening across
the land to official attitudes
toward marijuana.
LEGISLATURES in five stat-
es - California, Oregon, Alas-
ka, Colorado and Maine - have
decriminalized possession of
marijuana in amounts s m all
enough to be considered for per-
sonal use. The effect is to treat
pot smoking much like a traffic
violation, giving a fine but not
making the offense a crime that
goes on one's record.
Other bills to ease penalties
for smoking marijuana h a v e
been introduced in Congress and
in other state legislatures,. some
where they've gone farther than
in past sessions and often with
less vocal opposition. Bills are
pending in at least three states.
In Minnesota, the State House
and Senate passed different ver-
sions of bills and they remain in
a conference for the 1976 ses-
sion. In Ohio a bill to lessen pen-
alties passed the House and is
in a Senate committee. Ano-
ther measure is in a Wisconsin
Assembly committee.
THE LATEST reduction in
penalties seems to be the con-
tinuation of a trend. Since
1970, most states have reduced
possession of small amounts of
marijuana from a felony to a
misdemeanor. In some states it
is either law or practice to put
first offenders on probation.
At the same time, states have
M Pin Bowling
Win a Free Game
Union Lanes
OPEN: 11 a.m. Mon.-Sat.
1 p.m. Sundays

been raising. penalties for sale
of marijuana and drugs such a
cocaine, heroin and LSD. New
Jersey just raised the maximum
sentence for sale of drugs from
14 years to life.
Marijuana laws are also beng
attacked in court. The Alaska
Supreme Court ruled in May
that possession of the substance
for personal use in the home is
protected by state and federal
constitutions under the right of
privacy. The U.S. 6th Circuit
Court of Appeals has ruled, in
effect, that Ohio's 20- to 40-year
sentences for trafficking in
marijuana were cruel and unus-
ual punishment and therefore un-
constitutional. The state is ap-
pealing to the Supreme Court,
THERE ARE several argu-
ments put forth for lessening
penalties for smoking "grass."
Most seem based on practical
rather than medical reasons.
One argument is that past sen-
tences have been too harsh. And
in Arizona, a legislator rushed
to cut penalties on grounds that
lesser sentences were already
imposed in the large cities of
Tucson and Phoenix than is
small towns. A similar problem
was noted in Nevada.
Bar associations an:d some
police have argued that easing
pursuit of the marijuana smok-
er will allow the whole law en-
forcement apparatus -- police,
courts and penal institutions -
more time to deal with serious
drugs and more dangerous
crimes.
THERE IS also the factor that
marijuana use is apparently be-
coming more widespread,
though exactly how much more
is impossible to measure. Is
1974 the private Drug A buse
Council estimated there were
13 million marijuana smokers in
the country.
Another reason may appeal
to financially hard-pressed cities
and states. Dr. Irving G o f f-
man, a University of Florida
economist who has studied mar-
ijuana, believes it . eventually
will be government marketed as
liquor in some states. He esti-
mates this could mean $2 bil-
lion annually in government re-

HOMEWORK NOT
KEEPING YOU
BUSY ENOUGH?
It's still not too late to come down to the
Daily and help us out. The Business De-
partment NEEDS PEOPLE who want to:
* work preparing ads and learning the
operations of a daily paper
* meet other good, frustrated people
e party down once in a while
" drink 5c Cokes
" after the first month, make a LITTLE bit
of money
You don't need any special skills, just show
up and we'll train you! Pleeease.

venue under the present market.
MICHIGAN
REPERTORY '75
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
TONIGHT thru July 25
THE RIVALS
in repertory with
THE HOT L BALTIMORE
TOMORROW thru July 26
PERFORMANCE TIME 8:00
Tickets available at Mendelssohn Boa Office
763-1085
Tickets also available at Hudson's
Monday-Friday 12:30-5:00
Performance Days 12:30-5:00 and 6:00-8:00
*Recommended for mature audiences

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