14 -The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 17, 1997
Researchers say marijuana use on the-
users embrace drug as easy high
By Stephanie Hepburn and Alice Robinson
Daily Staff Reporters
Sarah Bricker broke a pact with herself more than
a year ago.
"I was so mad at myself," said the RC sophomore,
of her struggle to stay off marijuana and other drugs.
"I was clean, and then I broke being clean, and I felt
stupid for smoking the last joint."
Today, Bricker said, her life is different.
"I think drugs are unnecessary to have a good
time," she said. "There's so much stuff that you
can't do when you're high. My favorite quotation,
since quitting drugs, is, 'So, what do you do?' As if
drgs are the only things in the world you can do,"
They may not be the only thing you can do, but
many students say they are a fulfilling pastime -
MaryJane, grass, weed, cannibus, cheba, are just
a few names for the substance that has risen greatly
among college students.
According to the national Monitoring the Future
Study by the University's Institute of Social
Research, marijuana has accounted for much of the
overall increase in illicit drug use in the latter part of
A survey conducted by the Chronicle of Higher
Education found that drug violations have increased
at colleges and universities by 34 percent. Among
college students, there was an increase in use from
29"percent of students in 1991 to 31 percent in 1993,
according to a survey of
I,500 students surveyed by}
Some said that smoking
a joint has become as com-
mon as cigarettes and beer.
"You see it everywhere,",
said LSA senior Jeff
Kurson. "People aren't real-
ly cautious (about using it).
It's treated just like smok-
ing a cigarette or drinking a
beer. For the most part, peo-
ple don't even look twice
when someone's smoking."
One reason given by
MFS as to why there has 91 92 93
been an increase is the ero-
sion of peer norms againsts
drug use. Fewer people are
seeing marijuana as dangerous, perhaps because
fewer dangers have been presented. Today, there is
less federal funding for drug abuse prevention, and
news coverage on drug issues has greatly dwindled,
stated an MFS release.
Pop culture may be partially the cause of the
increase of marijuana use among college students.
MFS states in its data and a press release from
December 1996, that rap and rock musicians have
started to send pro-drug messages through their
lyrics and music videos. Lyrics from popular songs
such as Snoop Doggy Dogg's "Gin and Juice" and
Tom Petty's "You Don't Know How it Feels" may
lead young people to have a more accepting attitude
toward marijuana, MFS states.
An LSA junior who did not want to be named
said the media and pop culture make it more accept-
able to smoke marijuana.
"Role models, such as star basketball players get-
ting caught with ounces of weed in their trunks,
make it more acceptable for kids to do it," the LSA
junior said. "Although it's more acceptable, it's still
illegal, and cops come down hard on kids caught
Ann Arbor's annual Hash Bash helps contribute
to the city's image of having a liberal attitude toward
An LSA junior who professed smoking marijua-
na said perceptions about Ann Arbor are merely a
throw back to the hippie era.
"It's just a hippie thing carried over from the last
40 years, and the correlative Wutang culture," the
LSA junior said. "Ann Arbor's average cross sec-
tion of the student population is more made up of
rich, spoiled kids from the affluent suburbs of the
United States. Ann Arbor isn't any more of a pot
town than any other college campus. I do have prob-
lems getting pot sometimes."
But for those who are caught with marijuana, the
repercussions can be severe.
Mandatory minimum sentences are enforced on
several offenses. A person must serve a five-year,
mandatory-minimum sentence if federally convict-
ed of cultivating 100 marijuana plants. This sentence
is longer than the average sentence for auto theft and
Department of Public Safety spokesperson
Elizabeth Hall said possession is a misdemeanor
punishable with up to a year in prison and/or a
"If a person is caught with plants, the penalty
depends on the quantity and circumstance," Hall
said. "It depends if they were manufacturing with
the intent to distribute."
Laws change depending on the where in Ann
Arbor a person gets caught with marijuana. A one-
year minimum prison
sentence is given for
manufacturing or distrib-
uting marijuana within
1,000 feet of any school,
university or playground.
Many areas in Ann Arbor
fall within these "drug
"DPS enforces state
law if you are on
University property and a
University police officer
observes you with mari-
juana," Hall said. "You
would be prosecuted
94 95 96 under state law, not the
Ann Arbor city ordi-
urce: Institute for Social Research nance, which gives a $25
fine. It seems that people
get really confused with that - there is a large dif-
ference from up to a year in prison and a 25 dollar
Ann Arbor resident and high school student
Karen Gilgenbach said Hash Bash is a lot about indi-
viduals presenting an image.
"This Hash Bash - all that is, is proving to peo-
ple that you're not scared to do drugs," Gilgenbach
said. "Everything is about proving they're fearless."
In recent years, DPS made about 50 arrests at each
Hash Bash - most of them made on non-students.
Before, police only occasionally handed out cita-
tions at the spring gathering, which has been an
annually affair since the 1970s.
Hall said the majority of DPS marijuana arrests
are made during Hash Bash. "(About 90) arrests are
made during Hash Bash for drug violations," Hall
said. "Only 110 arrests were made during the whole
year for drug violations. Of those, only three were
, affiliated with the University."
One LSA junior said Ann Arbor's drug penalties
reflect the town's liberal image. He added, howev-
er, that most University students are more focused
on academics than on drugs.
"In the '60s, if you were caught with marijuana,
you received a $2 fine, a slap on the wrist," the LSA
junior said. "Now, it's a $25 fine, which reflects on
AEVIN KRUPITZER/ yL
An assemblage of various smoking paraphernalia sit on a table. Merchants who sell such Items say they are used for tobacco products.
how this campus is pretty much liberal.
"I don't think the reflection is correct," the LSA
junior continued. "Everyone is studious. It's an
image thing with Michigan saying that we are a
liberal school, with the Naked Mile and Hash
Bash. It's trying to come across like the balance
of the best of both worlds, while in all honesty,
it's just kids trying to do well in school."
Stephen Strobbe, nurse coordinator at the Chelsea
Arbor Treatment Center, said it is important to note
that college students today haven't been exposed to
the negative effects marijuana had on young people
during the 1960s. Strobbe said his patients were
often given bad examples by parents who smoked
marijuana in their homes.
"We'll sometimes have students in treatment who
live in households where the parents use marijuana
or other drugs," Strobbe said.
There are many health hazards associated with
the lack of quality control standards with marijua-
na. Marijuana is often mixed with much more
damaging substances, such as pesticides, herbi-
cides, fertilizers and other harder drugs like LSD
or PCP. Some marijuana is infected with molds,
fungi or bacteria.
Just the inhalation of hot smoke is one of the haz-
ard of marijuana use. The inhalation of burning veg-
etable matter is bad for the respiratory system,
"There are very caustic agents in burning mari-
juana," Strobbe said. "There are over 800 chemical
compounds in burning marijuana. Some are known
Marijuana actually can aggravate or be a con-
tributing factor to the onset of schizophrenia or other
"For those predisposed with depression, schizo-
phrenia or anxiety disorders, their tolerance may be
marketably lower than the average population,"
Strobbe said. "Marijuana increases pulse rate and
can trigger episodes of anxiety attacks."
Some point to the proliferation of marijuana-relat-
ed paraphenelia being sold on campus as an indica-
tor of how marijuana has permeated the Ann Arbor
Employees at Stairway to Heaven, a State Street
business, say the pipes and bongs they sell are strict-
ly for tobacco use. The business also sells cigarette
papers, ostensibly used to roll cigarettes.
"Of course - obviously - they're all for tobac-
co use only. Our customers wouldn't use them for
anything else," said one employee, referring to the
store's pipes, which range in price from $10-$400.
Obtaining drugs on campus may not be as diffi-
cult as police would like.
"If you don't know immediately where to get it,
you know someone who does," Bricker said.
Kim Ares, an Ann Arbor resident who plans to
transfer to the Art School in January, said marijuana.
is very common in social situations. "If you don't
ask, someone will always mention it," she said. "I've
gone to two schools and I think it's pretty common
at any school."
One LSA sophomore said that getting a hold of
marijuana on campus is "very easy."
"There's no problem with that here," she said.
Strobbe said that there are various reasons a stu-
dent might try marijuana for the first time -
"curiosity, adventure, social reasons," he said.
One 23-year-old Ann Arbor resident said he uses
marijuana every day because it serves as a release
for him. "I think because of the nature of it, it makes
you more analytical," he said.
The man said he would stop smoking marijuana
if he felt it was interfering in his daily life. "I would
quit if I felt like it was in the way of anything I want-
ed to do," he said. "A lot of times, if I've got stuff to
do. I wait until the end of the day."
LSA junior Evelyn Stokes said marijuana use is
"something that should be dealt with by the
University. Of course, it obviously has a huge nega-
tive effect on anyone who's a regular smoker," she.
Stokes said the University should be taking more
action to curb drug use on campus. "There are a lot
of issues that receive attention at the University that
are probably not as deserving as the attention of drug
use. I don't see a lot of that trying to be stopped at
Michigan," Stokes said.
The question remains, however, why students
choose to smoke marijuana: Words used to describe
the feeling of being high range from "zoned,
relaxed, fuzzy," to "sleepy" and "kooky."
First-year Medical student Michael Hines said he
hasn't smoked marijuana since high school. He said
it made him feel "tired, unmotivated."
The FBI estimates
arrests were made
nationwide by state and
local law enforcement in
1995, an 18-percent
increase over 1996.
SNORIML estimates that4
million Americans admit
to having tried marijua-
na at some point in their
M Cultivation or posses-
sion of a marijuana plant
is a federal
A participant partakes of marijuana at the April 1995 Hash Bash. Students and residents say the
annual marijuana legalization rally presents a distorted portrait of Ann Arbor's social attitudes.
Drug is at center of health, legalization debates,
minimum sentence to
any adult selling marijua-
na within 1,000 feet of a
More than 35,000
marijuana offenders are
either in prison or in jail.
* According to a recent
By Heather Wiggin
Daily Staff Reporter
Unlike 20 years ago when marijua-
na was embraced by the hippie gener-
ation, today's version is more potent
In 1979, Senate bill 816 permitted
the use of marijuana for cancer
chemotherapy and glaucoma. That
law expired in 1987, and since then,
marijuana has been illegal under all
On the federal level, Rep. Barney
Frank (D-Mass), unsuccessfully pro-
posed House bill 2618 in 1995, which
allows marijuana to be used "in situa-
tions involving life-threatening or
lethargy and psychiatric difficulties
such as anxiety and mood disorders,
Users who break off use of marijua-
na experience withdrawal symptoms,
in the body, for a