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December 07, 2011 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-12-07

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people were so excited."
The night before the rally, the Legisla-
ture passed the revised marijuana policy,
drastically reduciog the peoalties for use,
possession sod sale of the drug. Aod -
fioally - three days after the rally, the
Michigan Supreme Court ordered Sin-
clair to be released from prison.
" Iwas an opponent, I had to take a few
licks on the way to winning the fight,"
Sinclair said, when asked if he felt like he
had been a victim of the state's marijuana
laws. "If I had to have done 10 years, I
would've been a victim.
"But then John Lennon got me out, and
I won. Not too many people can say that."
It's impossible to say, though, what.the
ultimate effect the Freedom Rally had on
the Supreme Court's Decision to release
Sinclair, Conforth said.
"I think there was enough public senti-
ment growing without the concert that he,
in all likelihood, would've been released
anyway because people were increasingly
seeing it as a bum rap," Conforth said.
Fenton added that Sinclair's sentence
could've been shorter, but he insisted on
fighting the government's classification
of marijuana as an addictive narcotic.
"John could've gotten out of jail a lot
earlier, and could've avoided many, many,
many months of abuse in prison, and har-
rowing periods of solitary confinement,
but ... he wouldn't compromise," Fenton
said.
And the court went even further. In
March 1972, it ruled Michigan's marijua-
na laws unconstitutional, and since the
revised law that was passed the previous
December didn't go into effect until April
1, open consumption of marijuana was
legal in Michigan for about three weeks
that spring.
Sinclair said he led events around Ann
Arbor where people openly smoked weed,
adding that the party also started its own
church.
"Marijuana and psychedelic drugs
were our sacraments," Sinclair said. "So,
we were having open church services
where we were sharing the sacraments at
- the altar and all this kind of stuff."
Then, on April 1, when the new law
took effect, the first Hash Bash was held
on the Diag "to let them know that we'd
still be smoking even though they were
putting this law back in," Sinclair said.
40 years later
Today, Ann Arbor is a much different
city than it was when Sinclair and the
White Panthers called it home, as luxury
high-rise apartment buildings continue to
sprout up around campus, and franchised
coffee shops and drugstores fill up State
Street and South University Avenue.
"In hindsight, people like to remember
things as having more importance than
they actually did because it's what gives
our lives meaning," Conforth said. "A lot
of what happened back then was due to
happenstance, due to political manipula-

tions. You know, we may never know in all
sorts of ways, not just with Sinclair, but in
all sorts of ways."
Still, Sinclair and the White Panthers
have left an indelible impact on Ann
Arbor. Hash Bash still takes place every
April, and the People's Food Co-op in
Kerrytown, which the residents of Hill
Street established, still exists.
Beyond that, graying hippies still hap-
pily share stories of their exploits during
the era and talk about the night the for-
mer Beatle came to Ann Arbor.
Now 70 years old, Sinclair says he still
smokes at least two joints each day. He
saysahe sees parallels betweendhis politi-
cal advocacy in the 1960s and '70s and
the Occupy Wall Street movement that is
reinvigorating the left today.
"I've been doing this for a long time,
but man, it's exhilarating to see other
people, young people, find this out," Sin-
clair said. "It took them a long time, but
on Sept. 17, 2011, they said, 'Wait a minute,
this has gone too far.' Now I don't know
what's going to happen, but I'm kind of
exhilarated."
He continued, "It's picking up from 40
years ago and starting to go to the next
step."

Wednesday, D ce mber 7, 2011 // T he State ment 3B
news in review
Five of the most talked-about stories of the week, ranked in ascending order of actual importance
Alec Baldwin was kicked off an Head of the Federal Aviation Herman Cain suspended his Following alleged election fraud Two bombings yesterday in Kabul
American Airlines plane yesterday Administration Randy Babbitt campaign for the 2012 Republican in Russian, protesters gathered and Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan
afternoon after allegedly slamming resigned from his position presidential nomination Saturday Monday in Moscow's city killed at least 58 and injured
the bathroom doorloudly following yesterday, following his arrest for amid numerous accusations of center to oppose Prime Minister 160 people. Both bombings, one
instructions from a flight attendant drunk driving over the weekend. sexual misconduct. Cain insisted Vladimir Putin and the United a suicide attack and the other
to stop playing Words with Friends Deputy FAA administrator Michael the allegations are false and have Russia political party. About 250 detonated on a bicycle, were
on his phone. Huerta will serve in the interim. hurt him and his family. protesters were arrested. aimed at Shiite Muslims.
' .- --- -- -------J
0 1 2 3 + 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
LEI I , I 5, ,1111 6,166,TTTF1r FT 1,,, T1
quotes of the week from the archives
"I believe these words came from the Pokemon The fall of the Frieze
movie. I'm not sure who the original author is, sooa
don't go write an article about the poet, but it says a Irs
lot about where J am..." 1
HERMAN CAIN, FORMER GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE,on
previous speeches in which he quoted Pokemon.
"It's amazing howfar the left will go just to,
manipulate your kids, to convince them, give theFr ding
anticorporate message."
DAN GAINOR, CONSERVATIVE MEDIA CRITIC, accusing "The____
Muppets" movie of having a liberal agenda. ILLUSTRATION BY HANNAH DOW
Since last year's unveiling of North Quad as a brand new residence and academic
hybrid building,not many students remember what the site looked like with con-
the rules struction fences still surrounding it, let alone when another structure stood at the
location. But in 2007, many in the University community had a difficult time picturing
anything but the building that had stood at that spot for 99 years. A 2007 article in
No. 371: No. 372: No. 373: The Michigan Daily ("The rise and fall of the Frieze Building," 2/9/07) included many
If you want to study Caffeine, candy, Hitchhike to New opinions about the destruction of the nearly century-old building.
Students and faculty who used the Frieze Building often complained about the struc-
in the Law Library alcohol and greasy Orleans if you have ture's many faults, which University alum Jessica Wood referred to as "the asbestos
during finals, go at food are acceptable to. You're not going thing." Still, the demolition of the building brought about a lot of nostalgia from Uni-
8 am. and bring an during finals. Diet to want to missthe versity members and Ann Arbor residents, who called for the building to be preserved
due to its old age, but the University insisted the frame of the building prohibited the
extension cord. season is coming. Sugar Bowl. building from being transformed into anything else useful.

Free John Now
Rally Anniversary
Events
Concert with
Commander Cody Band
and John Sinclair
Friday, December 9
The Ark
Free
Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
Culture Jamming: A
Long View Back
A panel discussion with
John Sinclair and White
Panther Party members
Leni Sinclair, Pun Plamon-
don, David Fenton and
Genie Parker
Saturday, December 10
The Michigan Union
Pendelton Room
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

by the numbers

COURTESY OF CNN

In dollars, the amount of money a person In millions of dollars, the amount of money The maximum number of shares
can pay to own a share of the Green Bay the Green Bay Packers need tocomplete in Green Bay Packers ownership a
Packers. needed additions to Lambeau Field. person is allowed to purchase.

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