Medical Marijuana Initiative To Appear on Ballot

  Medical Marijuana Initiative To Appear on Ballot

Posted by CN Staff on July 18, 2004 at 23:00:20 PT
By Casey Ehrlich, For the Daily 
Source: Michigan 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 signatures drive that was recently approved by the city clerk’s office, allowing the issue to 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 population 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 medical marijuana initiative, the city validated the authenticity of each signature individually by checking voter registration cards, Ream said.“The most important thing is for the proposal 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 better. 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 AIDS/HIV.But the lack of substantial scientific evidence and fear of marijuana as a gateway drug, leads many national medical organizations, such as the American Medical Association, the American Cancer 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 alternative 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 supporting 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 marijuana.“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.Complete Title: Medical Marijuana Initiative To Appear on Nov. BallotSource: Michigan Daily (MI Edu)Author: Casey Ehrlich, For the DailyPublished: July 19, 2004Copyright: 2004 The Michigan DailyContact: daily.letters umich.eduWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Medical Marijuana Detroit Cannabis Research Links Arbor Debates New Pot Law Marijuana Lands Spot on Ballot

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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 20, 2004 at 19:39:26 PT

Marijuana Issue OK'd for Ann Arbor Ballot 
In Brief -- Ann Arbor NewsTuesday, 20, 2004The Ann Arbor City Council approved the language for a ballot question to amend the charter to allow a medical marijuana initiative to go before voters. The council voted 7-4 Monday in favor of it. Council Members Wendy Woods, D-5th Ward, Mike Reid, R-2nd Ward, Leigh Greden, D-3rd Ward, and Marcia Higgins, R-2nd Ward, voted against it.   
 Greden, an attorney, said the council had conflicting laws. One law stated that once an issue had enough signatures on a petition, it had to be put on the ballot. But he also said state and federal law didn't recognize legal use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. "I believe the ordinance is unenforceable under state and federal law," Greden said. Scio Township trustee Charles Ream led an effort in Ann Arbor to gather 7,000 signatures to place the initiative on the ballot. The ballot languages reads: "A Proposed Amendment to the Charter of the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Section 16.2, to waive fines and all other costs upon proof that the defendant is recommended by a physician, practitioner or other qualified health professional to use or provide the marijuana or cannabis for medical treatment; to prohibit Ann Arbor police officers, and his or her agents, from complaining, and the city attorney from refereeing any complaint, of the possession, control, use, giving away, sale or cultivation of marijuana or cannabis upon proof of an aforementioned recommendation; to change the fine for third and subsequent offenses from not less than $100 to $100; to establish an affirmative defense; and to prohibit imposition of other punitive or rehabilitative measures." Copyright: 2004 Ann Arbor NewsSnipped:Complete Article:

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