The last threat of a jail term for marijuana possession was removed by the cooperation of HRP and Democrats on city council. From now on people who are charged with possession of marijuana will not even Nave to appear in court. Instead, they will mail in their five dollar fine just as they would mail in a traffic ticket. There is no longer any chance of vindictive judges ordering probation which if broken can result in a jail sentence for the accused person.
No one knows yet if the judges will go along with the new ordinances. It was made necessary when it became evident that District Court JudgeThomasson was considering the possibility of probation in the first possession case to come before him. Desperate that the new law be thwarted, he grasped at any way to still put the accused person behind bars.
So far only this one possession case has come up and it was postponed. Other cases are being held up because the State Police are pissed off at the usurpation of the power over people's lives in Ann Arbor. They are putting the analysis of marijuana samples from Ann Arbor on lowest priority to delay their return while at the same time insisting on the right of the State Police to continue to bust in the city under the state law. It carries penalties of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for possession. They have made one arrest and are determined to make others. The Washtenaw County Sheriff's department is equally determined.
Republicans on City Council were once again sure that the new ordinance would make Ann Arbor the "dope capital of the state." Republican Lloyd Fairbanks urged the Democrats on Council to "become your own man, not a pawn of drug promoters." And everyone knows that, "the marijuana salesman also sells hard drugs as well."
Jerry DeGrieck shot back with, "Ignorant statements like yours cause the high crime rate, not marijuana. There is a need for society to legalize all drugs so those hooked on heroin can be on maintenance or withdrawal programs so they don't have to steal to maintain their habits!"
Councilman William Colburn did not think the City Council had the right to determine what sentences the judges could give. When Democrat Norris explained that the Supreme Court of Michigan had already ruled that the legislature is supreme on the question of sentencing, Colburn practically jumped out of his seat and declared, "I trust the Supreme Court of Michigan as far as I can throw a bull!"
Resourceful people in the community have already discovered a way to thwart the delivery of a violation ticket, which comes by registered mail. One of the return receipt requested slips come back to police headquarters from the post office the other day with the notation "Delivery refused." Now the police will have to personally serve a warrant and they've lost $1.20 which is the price of a registered letter.