The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Monday, April 6, 2009 - 7A
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Monday, April 6, 2009 - 7A
pot law changes
People from around
the Midwest convene
to talk drug policy
By BENJAMIN S. CHASE
More than100 students and mari-
juana policy activists from through-
out the Great Lakes region met at
the Best Western Executive Plaza
on Jackson Road yesterday to dis-
cuss issues of drug addiction, policy
reform and medical marijuana.
The event, the Midwest Confer-
ence of Students for Sensible Drug
Policy, was held to increase aware-
ness about marijuana and allow
attendees to network with other
"The conference has been a huge
success, with residents from nearly
every state in the Midwest," said
Chris Chiles, the executive director
of the University's chapter of SSDP.
"The turnout is phenomenal."
The conference aimed to bring
drug law advocates together, Chiles
said. Between speakers, conference
attendees divided into groups of 15
to 20 led by drug policy experts,
who facilitated discussion between
Chiles said he hopes the push
to reform drug laws across the
country will come from grassroots
efforts like the SSDP conference.
Drug reform is necessary, Chil-
es said, because drug education
will allow people to make more
With the passage of Proposal 1 in
} November, Michigan became one
of 12 states that have legalized mar-
ijuana for medical use. Today will
be the first day that identification
cards will be issued by the state for
patients and caregivers, allowing
them to grow or possess marijuana
for medicinal purposes without
threat of arrest or prosecution.
Conference attendee Renee
Wolfe, who has used marijuana for
medicinal purposes for more than
25 - years, suffers from Multiple
Sclerosis and is looking forward
to the new legal status of the drug
under Michigan law.
"I'll be leading the march up the
steps of the state House in Lansing
tomorrow to hand in my paper-
work," she said.
The card will allow patients or
caregivers to possess up to 12 mari-
juana plants or up to 2.5 ounces of
Ethan Nadelmann, executive
director of the Drug Policy Alli-
ance, gave the keynote address at
the conference. Nadelmann said he
was more optimistic than he has
ever been about the future of drug
law reform in the United States.
Nadelmann said he believes the
recent increase in cross-border
violence with Mexican drug car-
tels - who traffic illegal drugs into
Mexico from the United States -
will help to bring about the end of
marijuana prohibition. If marijua-
na is made legal, Nadelmann said,
there would be no black market for
marijuana, which would reduce
violence due to smuggling.
The tax revenue that couldbe gen-
erated by legalizing and selling mari-
juana to both medical patients and
recreational users is another reason
Nadelmann believes the country is
closer to reforming marijuana laws.
The potential regulation of the mari-
juana industry could bring in hun-
dreds of millions of dollars a year in
tax revenue for the country, he said.
Kalamazoo College students
Alex Griffin and Meghan Moriarty,
who attended the conference, said
they were both hopeful about the
future of marijuana law reform in
the state, especially after the legal-
ization of medical marijuana.
"Now, more than ever, it's impor-
tant to discuss drug law reform,"
Donald R. Vereen, senior academic
programofficeratthe School ofPublic
Health, spoke about the importance
of making informed policy decisions
when it comes to drug laws.
"Policy of any kind should be
based on research," Vereen said.
"We tend to get into trouble much
faster when we generate policy
without adequate research."
From Page 1A
yearly powwow away from Uni-
versity property this year.
In an interview with the Daily
last month, NASA Co-chair Con-
ner Sandefur said the move took
place because NASA had a desire
to shift the powwow's manage-
ment away from the University's
Office of Multi-Ethnic Student
Affairs and back to the Native
"We are taking back our central
control of the powwow to honor
ourcommunity," hetold the Daily in
early March."One ofthe greatthings
that have happened this year is we
have been able to connect with the
greater community. Native Ameri-
can students get to meet elders who
feel comfortable comingbecause it's
not within the confinements of the
Sandefur, a Rackham student,
said the group had difficulty find-
ing a venue in Ann Arbor after it
made the decision to switch loca-
"Most places you call, and they
won't call you back when you talk
about a powwow," he said.
After much searching, Sand-
efur said the Community Edu-
cation Department of the Saline
Area School District was one of
the few groups that agreed to
house the powwow.
"They just welcomed us with
open arms, which is a different
experience than we've had at the
University," he said.
Though this was the first time
in 19 years that the powwow was
not at Crisler Arena, American
Culture Lecturer Margaret Noori,
who teaches Ojibwe at the Univer-
sity, said many of the participants
preferred the new location.
ness," she said, "and families who
were venders were able to watch
their kids who were dancers."
In light of the fact that the
powwow was held seven miles
from campus and in a smaller
venue, Sandefur said he was satis-
fied with the estimated turnout of
thousands of people, even though
attendance was lower than in past
Noori, who attended the event
with her family, said there were
more than enough people to com-
pete in the dance competitions,
adding "there's a certain measure
of success that isbeyond numbers."
"I certainly felt that we had the
numbers of people you need to
have a successful powwow," she
In addition to the dancing
competition and traditional fes-
tivities, this year's powwow com-
memorated the death of Irving
"Hap" McCue, the founder of the
first powwow held at the Univer-
sity in 1972.
Besides starting the powwow
in Ann Arbor, McCue also taught
Ojibwe at the University for more
than 30 years.
While McCue passed away
in 2008, Noori said it is Native
American custom to honor the
death of a loved one a year later.
"It's easy to remember them a
week after it happens," she said.
"It's a more significant thing to
remember them a year later."
During Saturday's festivities,
many University faculty and staff
joined McCue's 26 relatives on the
dance floor to perform a memorial
dance in his honor.
In addition to the memorial
dance, participants of all ages,
wearing brightly colored head-
dresses, feathers andbeads, show-
cased their dancing skills in the
various dance competitions held
throughout the day.
At the end of the powwow,
dancers who earned the most
points received cash prizes.
As groups competed in the
center of the gymnasium, Native
American vendors - some driv-
ing more than 10 hours to get to
the event - packed the surround-
ing indoor track to sell their
goods, including beaded jewelry,
dream catchers, moccasins and
LSA freshman Lisa Letourneau,
a member of NASA, said the event
went smoothlybecause the Native
American community supported
"It's just kind of bringing it a
little closer to how things used
to be," Letourneau said. "Maybe
taking away the flashy aspect of
powwow and making it more nat-
ural and just more of a celebration
instead of a competition."
Despite the festive atmosphere,
attendees of this year's powwow
noted the continuing tensions
with the University were in the
back of their minds.
Dearborn resident Glen Qualls,
who has attended the annual
event nine times, said this year's
powwow was a very intimate
occasion in the new location.
However, Qualls added he was
upset because the change came in
light of an "underlying animosity
from people at the University of
"It's indicative that there's a
great healing that's needed with
the issue of the respect of the
remains that the University has
chosen to disregard," he said.
Karen Pheasant, a dancer whot
has come to the powwow for
the past three years, drove nine;
hours to attend the occasion and
said that, in years past, holding
the event at Crisler Arena signi-
fied the University's acceptance
of the Native American commu-
She said this year's change was
"a great loss," signifying the bro-
ken relationship between the Uni-
versity and the Native American
University alum Susan Hill
drove from Ontario to attend the
event. She said she has been com-
ing to the powwow since she was
a freshman 19 years ago.
Hill said she originally par-
ticipated as a dancer, but now she
returns each year as a volunteer.
"It's sort of like the native stu-
dents' homecoming," she said.
"We get to see people we went to
school with who are now all over
Hill said she supports the move
because NASA made the decision
with the Native American com-
munity's opinion in mind.
While the event went smoothly
in its new location, Noori said she
hopes the controversy over the
University's possession of the rel-
ics will be resolved soon.
"We remain really hopeful that
the University, through continued
awareness, will make a decision to
return the remains," she said.
From Page 1A
just once, Wenzloff said he has
missed being that involved.
"I think my legal education was
much richer when I could actively
engage in hands-on learning," he
said. "It's important to me to use
From Page 1A
society," Kent said. "People don't
really look down on you in the
same way anymore."
The event included speeches
from Kent, Chris Chiles, the
executive director of the Uni-
versity's chapter of Students for
Sensible Drug Policy, and mem-
RELAY FOR LIFE
From Page 1A
School senior and cancer survivor,
said events like the Relay for Life
have had a "direct impact" on his
my legal skills to serve the public
interest. That's really what I came
to law school to do."
Wenzloff added that it can be
difficult to "give back to the com-
munity" considering all the time
spent in a classroom. He said
clinical classes have a unique
advantage because they are "a
great combination of active learn-
ing and contributing to a greater
Carr said the clinic's goals are
to raise awareness of human traf-
ficking in today's society as well
as to prevent continuation of the
As the clinic is set to open in the
fall, Carr said she has great expec-
tations for what it can accomplish.
bers of the Michigan chapter of was a member of an activistgroup
NORML. called the Portage Progressives
After the gathering on the for Peace, said he hasbeen attend-
Diag,supporters marchedtogeth- ing Hash Bash for more than 30
er to the annual Monroe Street years to "celebrate the passing
Fair. The fair featured live music of Michigan's medical marijuana
blaring from a stage in front of laws."
Dominick's and numerous street Prichard said he first attended
vendors selling everything from Hash Bash in 1975.
marijuana paraphernalia to The annual event began in
T-shirts. response to a March 9,1972 Michi-
Mark Prichard, who said he gan Supreme Court decision that
GOT A NEWS TIP?
life and the lives of other cancer
"[Relay for Life] definitely
spreads awareness," Pineau said.
"A lot of people get involved just to
come and check it out, and it raises
a lot of money."
In addition to events throughout
ketball tournament and pie-eating
contest, there were also two major
ceremonies - the Fight Back Cere-
mony and the Luminaria Ceremony.
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(March 21 to April 19)
Your antennas are so finely tuned
today, some of you can pick up hard rock
through your Mercury fillings. This
makes you very aware of what others are
thinking and feeling, which, in turn,
gives you a better idea of what they
(April 20 to May 20)
You're highly intuitive today! Trust
your gut reactions about things. Your
hunches are surprisingly accurate today.
(May 21 to Jane 29)
Discussions with others might be ide-
alistic today. In the same vein, you're
probably concerned about helping some-
one or, alternatively, how you can get
help from others.
(June 21to July 22)
Bosses, parents, teachers and VIPs are
easy to understand in some ways today.
It's not so much what they say (which, in
fact, mieht be confusitng); it's more
about what you kiow ttey really want.
(July 23 to Aug. 22)
Your appreciation of beauty is height-
ened today. You're curious about many
things, especially exotic, magical, spiri-
tual ideas. Travel by water appeals to
(Aug. 23 to Sept. 22)
Feelings of sympathy make you gen-
erous toward others, especially those
who are less fortunate than you.
However, don't be a martyr. Be gener-
ous, but maintain a healthy self-interest
(Sept. 23 to Oct. 22)
It's a good day to smooth over rough
feelings with partners. It's easy to estab-
lish feelings of mutual sympathy
because you can each sense what the
other person wants or needs.
(Oct. 23 to Nov. 21)
Avoid important decisions at work that
require clear, rational thought. Today
your mind is more like a helium balloon
floating in the sky. It's tough to be
(Nov. 22 to Dec. 21)
Your creative skills are tops today!
Trust your instincts and your imagina-
tion. Playful activities with children will
be fun. Love is very romantic.
(Dec. 22 to Jun. 19)
Exend a helping hand to family mem-
bers today; no doubt, someone will
extend a helping hand to you as well.
Secrets might be revealed. (Be discreet.)
(Jan. 20 to Feb. 18)
You wantto escape from drudgery and
chores today. Daydreams, fantasies and
opportunities in "get away from all this"
totally appeal to you today.
(Feb. 19 to March 20)
Be very careful about finances and
money deals today. Wishful thinking and
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Birthdate of: Jackie Chan, actor;
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"I hope the clinic raises aware-
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nation about human trafficking
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engage in human rights lawyering
during law school."
declared unconstitutional the
drug law used to convict activist
John Sinclair for possession of two
That decision left the state of
Michigan without laws prohibit-
ing the use of marijuana for almost
a month until a law was passed on
Apr. 1, 1972.
Hash Bash is held every year on
the first Saturday in April to com-
memorate the decision.
Saturday afternoon directed par-
ticipants' attention to dozens of
small flags on a hill, representing
the number of people in Washt-
enaw County who will be diag-
nosed with cancer this year. The
speakers encouraged those present
to do small things like urge others
to quit smoking or exercise regu-
larlyto reduce their risk of cancer.
"We must fight back to honor
the memories of all the people can-
cer has taken away from us," said
Zoltan Mesko, co-emcee for the
event and redshirt senior punter
for the football team.
At the candlelit Luminaria Cer-
emony on Saturday evening, par-
ticipants watched a video of names
and photographs of local residents
who were either diagnosed with
cancer or who passed away this
past year as a result of the illness.
After a choral rendition of
"Amazing Grace," participants
took a silent lap around the track,
which was ringed with luminar-
ias, each representing someone
who has suffered from cancer.
Many student organizations,
including Greek Life and multicul-
tural groups, formed teams to raise
money for the event. Some groups,
like the Lovin' Dans, were made
up of friends who decided to come
together and support the event.
LSA senior Michael Lampl, cap-
tain of the Lovin' Dans, said his
group has been a part of the event
since his freshman year. He said
this year's Relay seemed to have
more participants and events than
in the past.
"Everything about this event
is pretty positive," he said. "It's a
really fun day, especially when the
weather is nice like today."
Pineau encouraged students
not involved in this year's Relay
for Life to consider being a part of
next year's event.
"It's like a party; everybody has
a lot of fun," Pineau said. "Even
if you have no connections with
anybody with cancer at all you're
going to have a great time and
you're going to do something good
Business senior Kaylin Connors,
co-chair of the event, said the relay
exceeded her expectations in the
amount of money raised and stu-
"It made me feel like we're
uniting for one common cause,"
she said. "People will still come
together and do something good in
an economy that's not doing really
well at all."
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