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July 19, 2004 - Image 3

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2004-07-19

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 19, 2004 - 3

Medical marijuana initiative
Ito appear on Nov. ballot

By Casey Ehrlich
For the Daily
For University alum Charles Ream,
the fight to place the issue of marijuana
legalization on the ballot has been a
political and personal crusade. The Scio
Township trustee led the petition signa-
tures drive that was recently approved by
the city clerk's office, allowing the issue
appear on the ballot this November.
Ann Arbor voters will decide whether
or not medical marijuana should be
legalized, a controversial question that
was placed on the ballot as a result of
7,000 petition signatures collected
through the initiative of local supporters
over the course of one year.
Ream worked to achieve the support
of at least 5 percent of the city's popula-
ion by May, the amount necessary to
place a proposal on the ballot, greatly
surpassing the minimum requirement.
The city usually uses a sampling
method when checking the validity of
signatures for a petition - meaning
they check only a random selection of
signatures. But in the case of the med-
ical marijuana initiative, the city validat-
ed the authenticity of each signature
individually by checking voter registra-
tion cards, Ream said.
"The most important thing is for the
Oroposal to pass for medical uses, but
we also want to make a resounding
statement that American people are fed
up with federal government trying to
control their lives," Ream said. He
added that he is sure the proposal will
pass in Ann Arbor this November.
"It is outrageous for healthy people to
tell sick people that they cannot have the
medicine that is making them feel bet-
*er. These people have found a way to
cope with a disease and have found a
way to live," Ream added.
It still remains unclear whether or not
medical marijuana has proven medical

benefits, although according to Medical
Marijuana Detroit, it has been used to
treat multiple sclerosis, migraine
headaches, glaucoma, cancer and
But the lack of substantial scientific
evidence and fear of marijuana as a
gateway drug, leads many national med-
ical organizations, such as the American
Medical Association, the American Can-
cer Society and National Eye Institute to
officially reject the idea of legalizing
medical marijuana.
RC senior Rachel Frey said she
agrees with legalizing marijuana for
medicinal purposes.
"In general, it's better to use alterna-
tive forms of medicine, things that are
not necessarily developed in a lab, but
rather are natural and come from the
earth, like cannabis. (Sick people) have
found something that makes them feel
better," she said.
She added, " The government doesn't
have the right to tell people what to put
into their bodies, especially if it is for
positive use, like medication."

But recent RC graduate Benjamin
Turbo said he is hesitant about support-
ing the legalization of marijuana.
"I think drug use is a personal issue
and I wouldn't want to tell anyone how
to live their life, but ... I am unsure
about how it would be distributed and I
think it could be an easy way for young
children to get pot," Turbo said.
Ann Arbor currently has a law that
makes the possession of marijuana
punishable by a $25 fine. Although
the sale or use of marijuana is illegal
in the United States under federal law,
there are now eight states - Alaska,
California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine,
Nevada, Oregon and Washington -
that permit the legal use of medical
"The more liberal, western states
... have already legalized it and Ann
Arbor represents a more liberal
frame of mind within the Midwest.
There is nothing wrong with it in
my moral opinion," said Katie
Deutsch, a senior in the School of
Art and Design.

Continued from Page 1
the long-term effect of continuous cuts.
"We are now getting to the point
where we are getting to a crisis," Regent
Katherine White said. "We will suffer in
quality after this year."
While nearly all departments were
asked to find ways to save money, other
examples of the University attempting to
balance its budget are a reduction in 122
University staff positions and 40 faculty
positions and a less-frequent cleaning
schedule for housekeeping.
The budget that was approved is
still contingent on the state's higher
education budget, which is being
wrestled over in a House-Senate
conference committee.

The state has so far promised to
adhere to the agreement, which -
on top of a 2 percent cut - also
promises that it will not impose any
mid-year cuts.
But Courant said if the state cuts
more, the University will go back to the
regents and ask for another tuition
increase. "We no longer have the flexi-
bility to absorb yet another cut from the
state,"he said.
In the past two years, the state has
imposed three mid-year cuts totaling $3
million.The University will also have to
make adjustments if the state determines
that the rate of inflation is something
other than 2.8 percent.
The budget also includes a 5 per-
cent increase in tuition for out-of-
state students.

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