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March 28, 1980 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-03-28

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Page 4-Friday, March 28, 1980-The Michigan Daily
ash Bash Eve look at marijuana law reform
More than ttree hundrd million citizens of marijuana policies. Government is not allowed marijuana are rapidly driving us to the point at Harris polls have shown majority support for IN EARLY 1979, Senator Hart rei
the world use cannabis for medical, spiritual, dostrae clera eling ulic in which we literally will not be able to afford the decriminalization since 1977. It is also Senate Bill 65 as our twenty-first app
and recreational purposdes; fifty million o temonstrate clear and compelling pub c - costs of marijuana prohibition, if we haven't becoming increasingly evident to many derstandable policy. In its original f
them are Americans. Only caffeine, nicotine ven the most foolish opponent of marijuana reached that point already. , criminal justice personnel that marijuana con- offered a rational structure for crim
and alcohol are more popular drugs of choice reform that the "murder-insanity-death" theory It is apparent that marijuana use is a socially victions are very difficult to achieve; many regarding marijuana use. There w
and they, unlike marijuana, are legally was doomed (i.e., when the middle class accepted behavior for a significant and Michigan jurisdictions no longer ring to trial penalty for private use or possessio
....._.. certainkinds of cases. snal dwellin.ivil fines for Dub]

ntroduced
eal for un-
rm, SB65
nal policy
uld be no
n i a per-
Lic use oil

available for recreational use. None are risk
free, and at least two are significant public
health problems. Only cannabis is non-toxic, and
only cannabis has demonstrated medical
value. And only cannabis carries criminal san-
ctions against private, personal use.
Marijuana use has been prohibited and
medical research severely limited since the
1930s when the Director of theFederal Bureau
of Narcotics could say with a straight face,
"The marijuana user is a violent criminal with
an insatiable appetite for rape, homicide, and
mayhem. Eventually it renders the user totally
insane." Harry Anslinger's "Reefer Madness"
myths have been replaced by a subtler working
hypothesis that openly recognizes the har-
shness, futility, and irrational roots of current
penalties, but asks us to retain them "just in
case."
HENCE, PRESIDENT CARlTER on the one
hand calls on Congress for federal
decriminalization, while on the other-in the
person of White House drug-policy advisor Lee,
Dogoloff-exhorts the scientific community to
"take the necessary leap of imagination (to
prove) that marijuana use poses a serious
threat. Further, Carter encourages the Justicey
Department to call for state enactment of con-
stitutionally untenable anti-paraphernalia
legislation.
Something is obviously wrong with our

discovered marijuana), emphasis was shifted
to the.protection of individual health. Brain
damage, broken chromosomes, anti-social
behavior, lowered immunity to disease, and
impaired sexual. function became topics of
debate, and remained long after the original
studies has fallen by the scientific wayside.
All nine of the U.S. Department of Health,
Education, and Welfare's annual reports to
Congress titled "Marijuana and Health"' have
come to the reluctant conclusion, following
exhaustive review of all the scientific literature
available, that moderate use of marijuana by
adults does not constitute any significant public
health dangers. This does serious damage to
the foundation of marijuana prohibition, but in
recent years courts have become increasingly
reluctant to overturn criminal statutes. The
burden of removing criminal penalty from per-
sonal, private behavior has been placed on the
state legislatures.
THERE HAS NEVER been a successful
prohibition of any type, but the marijuana
prohibition in America has been spectacularly
unsuccessful. One-third of the adult population
has now used cannabis, and four million adults
were arrested for that use during the last
decade. The human and social costs of making
so many citizens outlaws are incalculable, but
the fiscal costs have been measured. State and
local governments spend well over $500,000.on
marijuana enforcement each year. American
consumers spent another $7,000,000,000 last
year to import from Columbia a plant our
federal government grows in Mississippi for a
little more than $5 a pound. A significant
balance of trade deficit and a multi-billion
dollar (tax-free) cash economy based on

growing cross-section of our society. Support
for outright legalization has grown from 8 per
cent in 1972 (when the National Commission on
Marijuana and Drug Abuse recommended
removal of all penalties for personal, private
use and possession) to nearly 30 per cent of all
registered voters today. Both Gallup and

MARIJUANA POLICIES present no excep-
tion to the axiom you must speak to be heard.
Eleven states have decriminalized marijuana
use and subsequently expressed satisfaction with
their decision. Nineteen states have taken
steps to make marijuana medically available,
including Michigan. In no case was the refor-
mation accomplished, much less attempted,
without a broad base citizen support. The Hash
Bash represents the tip of a very large
Michigan iceberg-government estimates
make it clear that three million Michigan
citizens have used marijuana, each at the risk
of being branded a crimpinal. In contrast, that is
more citizens than generally turn out for a
general election.
Decriminalization is endorsed by interest
groups as varied as the Michigan Council on
Alcohol Problems and the American Civil
Liberties Union chapter, the state Office of
Substance Abuse Services, the State Bar of
Michigan, New Detroit, PIRGIM, and the.State
Sheriff's Association, as well as most of the
major newspapers. We're very close to
decriminalization, and it all depends on us.
Many people will be surprised to learn the
Michigan legislature has entertained twenty-
one separate attempts to decriminalize certain
marijuana offenses since 1968. The first seven-
teen died in committee, often without so much
as a hearing. The next three failed on the House
floor, although each carried a majority of those
present and voting on the issue. The last of
these attempts was offered by Senator Jerry
Hart of Saginaw/Bay City. After clearing the
Senate, it lost by a single vote at the end of the
1978 season.

possession of small amounts, misdemeanor
penalties for small not-for-profit transfers,and
felony status for larger sales or transfers to
minors. The bill passed the Senate last spring,
but in altered form. The privacy protection was
lost on a tie, jail penalties were reinstated for
minors (ironically, less than a week after a
Dearborn Heights youth hung himself while
being held on a possession charge), and
presumptive felony possession sentences which
have already been overturned by Michiga4
courts were added almost as an afterthought.
The bill is now in the House Judiciary Commit-
tee where it has significant support, although
whether it has sufficient support to correct its
deficiencies remains to be seen.
The Hash Bash is a great way to reassert how
deeply many of us feel about marijuana
reform, and.to begin the election year drive for
better marijuana policies.
PIRGIM is bringing Roger Winthrop, state
coordinator of NORML (National Organization
for Reform of Marijuana Laws), to Ann Arb
Wednesday, April 2, to discuss Michigan'
marijuana decriminalization law (SB 65). The
discussion will take place in conference room 4
of the Michigan Union at 7:00 p.m.
The Public Interest Research Group in
Michigan (PIRGIM) gddresses a number of
consumer and student concerns in its
weekly column on this page. This article
was written by former PIRGIM membe
Roger Winthrop, who is Michigan state
coordinator of the National Organization
for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Tq}
A PARTICIPANT IN last year's April Fools Day
Hash Bash is escorted from the Diag by a
policeman. An increasing number of voters in
the state favoring decriminalization of
marijuana could prompt change in penalties
for its use.

lNuaet *(Yearsof EdNiorial IFret(Idons

Vol. XC, No. 140

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
Let's call a party a party

Every year, Michigan students
pass up thousands of dollars that
are available to them under two
state programs, the Homestead
Property Tax Credit and the
Home Heating Credit. Despite
the names, you do not need to be a
homeowner or directly pay a
utility bill in order to qualify for
benefits, which can be substan-
tial. It is also not necessary to file
a Michigan Income Tax Return to
receive benefits under these
programs.
The programs are designed to
relieve the burdens of high.
property taxes and home heating -
costs on low income people. The
formulae for each program are
such that many students could
receive cash from the state.
UNDER THE Property Tax
Credit, a person is entitled to a
credit if his or her property taxes
exceed 3.5 per cent of his or her
"household income." In the case
of renters, property taxes are
assumed to equal 17 per cent of
rent paid by the person for a
domicile in Michigan.
"Household income" is defined
slightly different ly from- the
definition of income for income
tax purposes. For instance, non-
taxable items such as scholar-
ships (but not student loans) and
veterans bonuses are included in

Tax credits
mean money
for students
By Tom Wieder

W E HOPE it's not an omen of
things to come, but already -
almost two weeks before the balloting
- there has been a complaint about the
Michigan Student Assembly (MSA)
election.
Fortunately, this complaint can be
answered, and the problem rectified,
before another Pandora's Box of ac-
cusations and mudslinging is opened.
Last year's election brought enough
surprises to last for a decade.
The complaint concerns the con-
fusing name of one party - "Indepen-
dent Students" (IS). Earlier this week,
Bruce Brumberg, an independent can-
didate who is not a member of IS, com-
plained to Election Director Ross
Romeo that the IS name is misleading.
Romeo ruled Wednesday that the IS
name could stand . because the dif-
ference between IS candidates and in-
dependent (u'naffiliated) candidates
will be clear on the ballot.
While this may be true, Romeo has
ruled incorrectly on this complaint.

Brumberg's concern that voters could
confuse campaign materials of in-
dependents with those of IS members
seems quite justified. IS should be
required to make a simple change in
its name by adding the word "Party."
IS party chairman Bob Redko has
argued that any confusion about the IS
name can only help unaffiliated in-
dependents. This assertion, however,
presupposes too much. It is not certain
that IS will attract great student sup-
port, or that independents will want to
be confused with IS candidates.
IS is entitled to the benefit of the
doubt that its name was not
deliberately intended to confuse
voters. In fact, the name seems ap-
propriate considering'the party's com-
position - a group of independent
students, according to Redko.
Brumberg has vowed to appeal
Romeo's decision to the election board.
We hope the board orders IS to add a P,
that IS does not resist the change, and
that this minor problem does not prove
to be ominous.

"household income," and there is
no $100 dividend exclusion. On the
* other hand, any amount paid for
medical insurance may be deduc-
ted.
Here is how the Property Tax
Credit might apply to a typical
student. Suppose a student's in-
come from a summer job, a part-
time job during school, and
dividends and interest equals
$4,000. The student has an apar-
tment in Ann Arbor, for which the
rent totals 1800 dollars for the
year. Seventeen percent of that
rent (the property tax rate)
equals $306.
Three and a half per cent of the
student's income equals $140.
The student is entitled to a credit

equal to 60' per cent of the dif-
ference between the taxes paid
and the income figure: $306
minus $140 equals $166; $166
times sixty per cent equals $99.60.
THE CREDIT is not merely an
offset against income tax
liability. The student receives the
full credit whether or not any in-
come taxes are paid.
The Home Heating Credit wor-
ks somewhat differently. The
same 3.5 per cent figure is used,
but it is offset against a standard
allowance based on the number
of exemptions the taxpayer
claims. In the case of a single
student, the standard allowance

would be $200. Assuming the
same $4000 in income, the 3.5 per
cent figure is again $140. The
taypayer is entitled to receive a
credit equal to the total amount
of the difference between the two
figures: $200 minus $140 equalI
$60.
There is one catch in the Home
Heating Credit program. Unlike
the Property Tax Credit,- it may
not be claimed by a full-time
student who is claimed as a
dependent by someone else.
THE FORMS required for the
two credit programs are included
with Michigan Income Tax for-*
ms. The form packets may be ob-
tained at some local banks or
from the Secretary of State's of-
fice at 611 Church Street.
You may file your credit forms
with your income tax forms or
separately. The final date for
filing a credit for property taxes
paid in 1979 is December 31, 1981.
This means it is not too late to file
a credit for taxes paid in 1978,
since the deadline for this is
December 31, 1980.
For further information about
the credits, call the Michigan
Treasury Department at 971-6112.
Tom Wieder is a University
law school student.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
A survey can't solve dorm problems

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To the Daily :
I am sitting here in my dorm
single looking at my copy of a
Housing Office student needs
survey and wondering exactly
what I'm supposed to do with'it.
The attached explanation ex-
plains that this is not "just
another survey" and that the in-
formation garnered from the
results will be used by Housing to
provide improved, expanded, and
individually-directed programs
for residents and staff training.
I am specifically wondering
how all this information
gathering relates to the fact that I
had trouble getting a hot shower
this-and most other-mornings.
I'm also wondering what was in
the meat served up as "sloppy
joes" today in the dorm
cafeteria for lunch; it had a queer
light color and a distinctly ar-
tificial aftertaste. I wonder why
there is no mention in this latest
survey of how I am dealing with
financial difficulties, especially
in view of the fact that I ex-
perience them so regularly, and
that all educational expen-
ses-especially housing-will be
rising again next fall.
Most of all I wonder how, as a
housing employee, I can recon-
cile myself to my role as a fun-
ctionary in this extensive
bureaucracy, in view of the fact
that in three years here at the
University I have yet to encounter
any high-level administrators

that breed alienation and
educational failures. The food is,
legendary for its
monotonousness and poor qualty.
The plumbing and heating
systems are generally old and in
poor repair, contributing to rising
costs as well as student
dissatisfaction. Administrators,
clerks, and other staff are too of-
ten well versed in the "rules"
made for every dorm by the cen-
tral housing office, and insensitive

to the considerable problems
they often create for students.
The university is a very large,
complex community, and some of
these problems are certainly
unavoidable. But the high costs
of university housing reflect cer-
tain realities that are. not likely to
go away as an aftermath to this
new survey of more than 2,000
dormitory residents, namely
waste, inefficiency, and a scar-
city of necessary features for a

D. C. draft protest coverage incomplete

pleasantdorm existence. Housing
cannot continue to issue surveys,
regulations, and rate increases in,
such alunilateral and unrespon-
sive manner, or the kind of
protest we have recently seen
towards the draft and other
aspects of American militaris
will soon be levelled at a mue
more accessible target: the
Housing Offices in the SAB.
-Tom Stephens
March 26

.

rr7Yt

b

To the Daily:
Upon returning to Ann Arbor
early this morning from the rally
held to protest the draft in
Washington D.C., I was par-
ticularly distressed to find your
coverage of that event shallow
and misleading 'Daily, March
23). As a voice of the students,
and at times an expression of a
higher political consciousness, I
would expect the Daily to present
more than just the standard
media approach. Unforunately,
Gregg Wolper's article reads like
the regular UPI or AP reports.
While according to police
estimates only thirty thousand
protesters marched, organizers
of the rally estimated many
more. It is to the advantage of the
police and the establishment to
underestimate participation at
such events. In the past it has
hen my exnerience that a

delivered an inspiring and power-
ful speech. He congratulated and
applauded the will and deter-
mination of all people who
struggle against social injustice
and irresponsible government in-
stitutions. He denounced not just
the foreign but also the internal
policies of this country and called
on people to continue in their
fight against the corporate power
structure. He encouraged the
third world to rise up and free
themselves from all forms of
economic and political im-
perialism.
Both David Dellinger, one of
the Chicago Seven, and Stokley
Carmichael, a civil rights activist
and organizer during the 1960s,
spoke. Even Michael
Harrington's remarks were ex-
cluded from Wolper's article. The
arguments presented by many of

the speakers focused on more
than just the issue of the draft.
The issue really to be debat4
by students and politically active
people today is political and
social justice. The draft is merely
a focal point for such a discussion
because it represents the in-
justice and oppression charac-
teristic of capitalism in
American and throughout the
world. The protesters who mar-
ched Saturday were there to
protest more than just American
foreign policy and the draft. W
were there to protest militarism,
corporate power, and all the
destructive institutions they
represent. Whether AP, UPI, or
The Michigan Daily choose to
ignore this or not, people
throughout the world will con-
tinue to strive for liberation.
-Daniel Levitas
March 23

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