Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Ann Arbor to allow medical marijuana

The city of Ann Arbor already has a reasonable policy on the use of cannabis, with the penalty for personal possession being a $25.00 fine. Now they want to take it one step further by essentially legalizing the use of medical marijuana. While they can't actually overturn state and federal laws banning its use, a proposed citizen's initiative would instruct local law enforcement not to arrest or prosecute medical marijuana patients who use the herb under a health care provider's recommendation.

Of course even in an enlightened city such as Ann Arbor, there are naysayers but as always, these tend to be those people like Justin Bishop, founder of Clean Teens and program director of the Washtenaw County Community Partnership, who make their money from the prohibition of the plant. Bishop says marijuana is already too easy for kids to get and plans to run an ad campaign against the initiative. Although we agree on that point, it simply underlines the fact that prohibition has failed, it has nothing to do with the plant's value as a medicinal herb.

Will Michigan be the tenth state to enact reasonable medical marijuana laws? Ann Arbor is likely to respond with "reason and compassion" and pass the initiative. A similar proposal will be taken up by Detroit voters in August. One hopes they will be equally sensible in setting an example for the rest of the state to follow.


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