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March 18, 1983 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-18
Note:
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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~~~rapt

WHEN EATING OUT IN ANN
ARBOR YOU'LL FIND A WIDE
VARIETY OF RESTAURANTS,
BUT ONLY AT 315 S. STATE
ST. WILL YOU FIND THE TRUE
COMFORTS OF HOME. CHOICE
CUT MEATS, FRESH CRISP
GARDEN SALADS, HOMEMADE
SOUPS, QUALITY SERVICE
AND A COMFORTABLE AT-
MOSPHERE IS ALWAYS
GUARANTEED.
315 S. STATE ST., ANN ARBOR
663-0261

"Since it became an amendment,
we've had years of peace, quiet, and de-
clining use ... Until Belcher bought it.
The citizens called a truce, why can't
we leave it alone? In his 1977 mayoral
campaign, Belcher pledged not to inter-
fere with the law. He said it worked,"
Morris says.
Belcher initiated the repeal drive in
October by trying to pursuade council
to put the proposal on the ballot. He
failed to get the support even of his
Republican allies, and on November 15
he dropped the effort.
But a group of citizens launched an
unorganized petition drive to put the
repeal proposal on the April ballot. After
the drive failed to get even half of the
required 5,200 signatures, council
Republicans voted to put the proposal
on the ballot anyway.
B ELCHER DENIES that he is seek-
ing even harsher penalties, and
says instead "I'm just trying to clear
the books of a law that has bothered me
for years.,
"Whether the repeal succeeds or
not," Belcher says, "it won't make one
hill of beans difference."
"I remember the campus survey The
Michigan Daily conducted the day after
the repeal proposal went on the ballot.
They asked people what they thought of
it. About a third said 'Yeah, I'll look at
the proposal,' half said 'I'll vote against
it,' and the rest said 'I don't give a rat's
ass about it.' The citizens are going to
look at this issue and they're going to
say 'we'll vote no on the damn thing,' or-
'we'll vote yes,' and it'll be very
casual."
Belcher scoffs at the publicity the
issue has received. "If I hold a press con-
ference on some important issue, I'll
get The Michigan Daily, The Ann Arbor
News, and maybe two radio stations.
But if I say I'm having a press con-
ference on the pot law, I'll get AP, UPI,
every Detroit radio station, all four
television stations, all the Detroit
newspapers, plus the local folks. And it
just isn't that important."
Belcher says he objects to the amen-
dment because he feels it doesn't
belong in the charter, and it gives
people a "false sense of security."
"I just don't think a law like this
should be in the city charter. It's the
equivalent of putting a speed limit in
the U.S. Constitution," he says.
"Also," he says, "we have a lot of
young people who come into Ann Arbor
thinking that for sale, use, or possession
of less than one ounce of marijuana,
they'll get a $5 ticket. I contend that one
dozen of them have been charged under
..- E
AbSM0

SERVING BREAKFAST - LUNCH - DINNER
MON. thru SAT.: 8:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.
SUNDAY: 9:30 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.

i

40

i

Crossing the Impasse:
UN 'U' CRISIS
isnference on Iciirctlisa..

CLor.#o
. g oy
0,A
TE616/ Cd

Friday March 18
10am-2prm Opdiemul Rygistrutiem - Vule.
7 30pm Optieml Rygistratis - Rckhmui
8 OOpm Speakers:
-Rep. L. Jondahl, E. Lansing
-Dr. B. Frye, V.P. Acad. Affairs
-Dr. B. Bryant, Prof. Nat. Res.

RING IN THE MONTH
OF MARCH AT
RETZEL
0 e'
\ 0
Go c oOJr s o
- e s9
q Oe G eQQ 9 k
96cY
Pe L , O -
c de- 0\ G
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- 60
120 E. Liberty
761-1470

state law. They have a false sense of
security here."
"Right now," Belcher says, "for
small amounts a kid will probably get a
$5 fine, unless the guy or gal is a total
nerd and strikes the officer the wrong
way. Then they might get prosecuted
under state law."
Ann Arbor Police Chief William Cor-
bett says the criteria for a marijuana
case being handled under state law are
higher than the mayor thinks.
According to Corbett, only cases in
which a pound or more of marijuana is
confiscated are taken to the county
prosecutor and handled under state
law.
Corbett adds that the amendment
contains no amount required for state
prosecution, but that it is a policy of the
city to send only large scale
distributors to the county prosecutor.
Police estimates show there were three
such cases in 1980, two in 1981, five in
1982, and none so far this year.
Corbett says the vast majority of
cases are handled through the city,
though enforcement of the amendment
is "a very low priority": In the last
three years, police have issued 555
marijuana violations. That number in-
cludes three Hash Bashes, which Cor-
bett says account for a significant
number of the total.
Y PSILANTI HAS a pot law almost
identical to Ann Arbor's. Indeed, it
was modeled after Ann Arbor's original
ordinance. Ypsilanti police, however,
prosecute almost all their marijuana
cases through the county prosecutor,
thus under state law.
Many Ann Arbor residents fear police
here might misconstrue a repeal vote
for a vote for harsher penalties and
follow Ypsilanti's policies.
The tighter city ordinance also has
revived fears some residents have
about police harrassment in the 1970's.
Current City Attorney Bruce Laidlaw
says police in the '70s more actively
searched for people with marijuana,
and often practiced "selective enfor-
cement" of the law.
"There were officers I knew of who
were forever looking for some defect in
a car, a broken taillight, anything they
could use as an excuse to pull a car over
and check for pot," he says. "They
looked for people who they thought fit
their sterotype of someone who might
have marijuana in the car."
Washtenaw County Prosecuting At-
torney William Delhey also says there
is a problem of lack of due process and
equal protection under the law. "Sup-
pose you and I were smoking a joint in
the Diag," he says, "and you were
arrested by an Ann Arbor Police officer
while I got picked up by a sherriff's
deputy or state policeman. You'd
probably get a $5 fine, but I'm going to
jail."
Corbett says his department concen-
trates almost exclusively on public use
of pot and that enforcement techniques
and focus will not change if the new or-
dinance is adopted.
"People think suddenly we're going
to launch an aggressive drive to enforce
this new ordinance," he says, "and
that's simply not true. Enfor-
cement will not change one iota."
"Sure there's a problem with selec-
tive enforcement," Peterson says.
"Police go after hard-core users. That's
fine, but there are some officers who
feel anyone black is a hard-core user.
So you have racial discrimination. Or
maybe they look for long hair and
Walkmans, so there you have cultural
discrimination."
Peterson also says the argument that
the law shouldn't be in the charter is

Morris: Plays political football
"silly." The charter has a lot in it
besides the constitution. If you wanted
to get rid of everything like the pot law,
you'd have to chuck half the charter
down the drain."
Belcher says that besides getting the
law off the charter, it is important to
"haul down the flag" that attracts out-
siderssto Ann Arbor to smoke pot.
He says he doesn't feel Ann Arbor's
reputation has been tarnished because
of the law, but he does believe the city
has an image as a lenient town and is a
major distribution point for drugs in
Southeastern Michigan.
"I think the image exists, and I don't
think by repealing the charter amen-
dment you're going to change that
image," he says. "I do think you are
going to tell a lot of the young people
who come to the city that they're going
to get hit with a little more than five
bucks."
Belcher and Corbett both point to the
Hash Bash as evidence that people
come into the city to smoke.
"Now it's just an irritating, unlawful
event," Corbett said.
State Rep. Perry Bullard (D-Ann Ar-
bor) says "The 'flag' business is really
a spurious issue. Kids don't come to
Ann Arbor to smoke, they smoke where
they are. There's plenty of pot around."
Though the $5 law doesn't apply to
juveniles, Belcher and others say their
real concern lies with high school and
junior high school kids.
Nationally, pot use among high
school kids has dropped. In a seven-
year study of drug use by high school
students released last month, Univer-
sity researchers concluded that usage
of most drugs has declined. The largest
decrease, they reported, was in
marijuana use.
Most city officials agree that use has
declined in the city as well, in spite of
the "permissive attitude" the $5 law
projects to some people.
"I suspect whatever happened is
despite the changes in the law," Faber
says.
Belcher agrees. "I think people are
going to use marijuana like alcohol
during prohibition," he says. "I don't
think the law makes any difference. If
Americans want to use something,
they're going to use it, whether it's
marijuana or illegal booze. But I do
think the new ordinance is a better
law."
PARTICULARLY ABSENT from the
debates on this issue is mention of

the student v
the ordinanc
books in the f
There was
the words "si
the heart of a
tly student tu
very low. Ft
cessfully org
repeal propo
tee Against
only 10 peopl
month.
Likewise, n
.not unusuall)
800 new re
estimate tha
every year,
voters hard
student showi
Despite co
pus, students
the repeal
however, sho
against (the
feet me that n
probably woi
polling place
one student s
Political fi
don't feel th
major factor
or failure.
"Students
placid group
shame," Fab
I liked about
the students v
concern; the,
and they did
they could ca
"They may
he says, "bu
there's enoi
among studen
Bullard als
ts will mobili2
"Raising the
(students) t
potential fo
marijuana is
Peterson s4
more apatheti
show interest
the Ann Arbo
think it'll be
"The conserv
and people wi
fighting back.
"People say
ban suburba
harmless thar
do you think 1
says. "I don't
everyone goe
shirts."
Many have
bringing the
strongest criti
the present re
people who fe
ness that the i
be to cause a
fought 10 yea
Lax says.
"These inte]
harmful, and
that the existe
ce has any be;
the reduction
senseless thin
Belcher call
rah."
"One of the
specious - ar
looking at the
volatile and
munity again,
not going to
don't notice t
arms about it,
to be."
George A
News editor.

9:0prn
10~pjn

Q & A Session
Reception

Saturday March 19
9:30am Optional Rgistrtion - Union
10:00am Special Interest Workshops
Student; Faculty;
Staff; Alumni
11:30am issues Workshops
-Tenure & Job Security
-Research & Acad. Freedom
- The Review Process
- Redirection & Non-White
Students

Saturday, March 19
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Community High School
N. Fifth Ave. at Detroit Street
(Opposite Formers Market)
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
DEMONSTRATIONS DISPLAYS
FILMS * FOOD DISCUSSIONS
SWAP SHOP
ADMISSION: 25 DONATION
CITY OF ANN ARBOR
BICYCLE PROGRAM
994-2814

1:00pm
2:3Oprn

Lunch
Reflections & Discussion

I

2 Weekend/March 18, 19839

15 W

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