8A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 23, 2004
Initiative to legalize medical mari/uana in Ann Arbor
Continued from page 1A
again. I went back to college, graduated magna cum laude
and I've led a successful life since," says Ream, who was a
kindergarten teacher for 33 years.
Medical marijuana - which some research has shown
to treat glaucoma, nausea and loss of appetite - is already
legal in nine states, including California, Hawaii and Nevada.
Most recently, in August, Detroit voters passed an initiative
legalizing medical marijuana in the city.
Ream has led the drive to legalize marijuana in Ann Arbor
by collecting 7,000 petition signatures, about double the
number necessary to put the initiative on the ballot. He paid
voters $1 per signature, using $5,000 of his own money.
Now, with limited funds left at his disposal, Ream is doing
all he can with $4,000 provided by the Marijuana Policy
Project - an organization which works to reduce criminal
penalties for marijuana use -and another $1,000 of his own
Ream wants to run radio advertisements promoting the ini-
tiative, but that plan depends on support from donors. Instead,
he has decided to rely on newspaper articles and editorials to
make his cause known. A public forum will also be held at the
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Ann Arbor on Oct. 24
at 12:45 p.m., on the medicinal values of marijuana.
In addition to lack of funding, the initiative faces opposi-
tion from Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who has made it clear
that she does not approve of medical marijuana use. In a let-
ter to the City Council, Granholm said it is still illegal to use,
possess or sell marijuana under state and federal law.
She said that even if the proposal passes and becomes a
city law, state and federal law enforcers would still be able
to arrest, charge and prosecute marijuana users, even if they
were using prescribed marijuana.
Johnston, director of an annual survey of teenage sub-
stance abuse, cites the example of California, where a medi-
cal marijuana initiative was passed but rarely implemented.
"Federal authorities made it clear that physicians prescribing
marijuana risked losing their licenses to prescribe all con-
trolled substances, including all of the traditional psycho-
therapeutic drugs," he said.
Ream said he refuses to be deterred by Granholm's oppo-
sition and remains convinced that more can be done to legal-
ize marijuana for medical purposes. In a written response to
Granholm, he said, "Ann Arbor voters don't like it when you
tell them that their vote will be ignored."
He mentioned Burlington, Vt., which legalized medical
marijuana with an 83 percent majority, prompting the state
to adopt the policy, and says he hopes a similar amendment
will be approved here.
"People here understand research and the truth. They are
too smart to be manipulated by cultural wars," Ream added.
Yet some people doubt that the initiative will have positive
health benefits if passed.
Kirk Brower, a psychiatry professor at the University.
said, "I would vote against this initiative because the issue
here is that they want to legalize marijuana joints. I don't
think smoking a joint is the best delivery system because
along with the active ingredient that has medicinal purposes,
smokers also inhale tar and other cannabinoids whose effects
have not been researched."
While Brower believes marijuana does have medicinal
values, he says drug approval should be left to the Food and
Drug Administration and not legalized through a ballot.
"The only reason I feel people would vote for this is to raise
awareness about the effects of medical marijuana." Brower
said. "However, I believe the proper channel of approval
should be through the FDA, which will impose regulations
and controls for the prescription of addictive medicines, such
Continued from page 1A
LSA senior Mary Tran, who is not related to Dan Tran,
says this strident opposition toward Kerry is evident in
"My dad is voting for Bush because of Kerry's Viet-
nam record and what he did in the past," she said.
Citing Kerry's protests against the Vietnam War and
his later attempts to normalize relations with Vietnam
during 1995, Mary Tran said her father believes Kerry
only aided what he sees as the brutal dictatorship govern-
ing Vietnam today.
Kerry's past does not merely reflect on Vietnam, but
also his inability to lead the United States, said Dan
"Kerry joined the Vietnam War and then he opposed
it. That's his 'flip-flopping'," Dan Tran said, who is also
president of the Vietnam Human Rights Project. "He then
misled America about the Vietnam War, when he testified
in court against U.S. soldiers," said Dan Tran, adding that
the United States could have won the war.
Most recently, Kerry blocked a bill that would have
reduced U.S. aid to Vietnam in order to pressure the coun-
try to end its human rights abuses. Kerry's opposition to
the bill further deepened the divide between Vietnamese
and his candidacy, Dan Tran added.
Not all Vietnamese communities plan to vote against
Kerry. Engineering freshman Quang Nguyen also said
his Florida Vietnam community would probably vote for
Kerry, believing that even with his Vietnam war record,
Kerry is still the superior candidate. "I feel that he is the
person who would most stand up for more immigration
from Vietnam in America," he added.
But the rationale behind most Vietnamese backing
President Bush has not solely been weighed on Kerry's
wartime record. In fact, support for the Republicans has
its origins since Vietnam refugees immigrated to Ameri-
ca during the Vietnam War.
Andrew Lam, an NCM translator who helped conduct
the poll, said a key reason for Vietnamese support of Bush
is because many of them were born in Vietnam.
"I think part of it is 80 percent of the population are
immigrants from overseas. And many of them still
remember the Vietnam War and still perceive a strong
foreign policy as a way of keeping the world stable," he
As most Vietnamese Americans were from South Viet-
nam, Lam said many are anti-communists and believe the
Republicans are extremely anti-communist.
In turn, Lam added, it's expected for them to oppose
Kerry because of his anti-war attitude during the Viet-
"(Vietnamese immigrants) were basically the losers of
the war. They believe that the war protesters in America
caused the U.S. to withdraw and lose the war."
In recent years, polls have also showed Vietnamese
consistently voting conservative, Bendixen said. "They
are very conservative in the war of Iraq. On issues like
gay marriage they have been very strong (conservative
voters). The issue of 9/11, they were very patriotic. So
they tend to feel best represented by Republicans."
Yet while Vietnamese have voted conservative in the
past, the direction of elections to come is uncertain since
the next generation of Vietnamese may begin to alter that
Along with the overwhelming Vietnamese vote, the
poll also indicated that among Asian Americans aged 18
to 39, 51 percent will vote for Kerry versus 27 percent
Lam said younger Vietnamese would most likely fol-
low the same trend.
"They grew up in the U.S. so their concerns are very
different. The younger generation in this election is fac-
ing a possible draft. They face the economy and the war.
The issues are domestic," he said.
But University students say the Vietnamese vote for
both generations is not as clear-cut as the NCM poll
Business School senior Teresa Nguyen said her family
is likely to vote for Kerry.
"Looking at my parents' community, it is mainly blue
collar working class, rather than anything like the Repub-
licans. So they have voted for Democrats in the past. I
think they are also more concerned about current events,"
As for Vietnamese students, many have yet to decide,
feeling they have not looked into the election enough
or they are unsatisfied with both candidates. Pharmacy
senior Mandee Nguyen said, "I've heard stories on both
sides. I'm not even sure if I want to vote, because I'm not
happy with either candidate."
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