(Editor's Note: Today concludes the installments of the report presented by the Citizens' Blue Ribbon Committee for the Study of Drug Abuse. This fifth in the series of installments continues the committee's recommendations in the area of law enforcement and reform, and includes the summary list of the committee's recommendations.) Marijuana, among .the widely used drugs, raises a special problem in law enforcement. Although some degree of risk may be associated with its use, evidence indicates that marijuana is a mild intoxicant, is not habit forming, is not associated with aggressive behavior, and does not in itself lead to the use of hard drugs. lts continued status as an illegal, dangerous drug only creates disrespect for our legal system. This disrespect in turn diminishes the credibility of the law in regard to truly dangerous substances. The irrationality of the present system is further indicated by the fact that amphetamines and barbiturates, drugs whose long term use are most deleterious to health, are scheduled by the new federal dangerous drug law as requiring the least severe penalties for sale, use, and possession. The committee therefore recommends that the community support efforts within Michigan to change the state law in regard to criminal punishment in all marijuana cases. The committee supports efforts to remove marijuana from the narcotics category, making the use and possession of any amount of marijuana a misdemeanor. Because of the recent federal drug legislation, the Michigan Legislature will, no doubt, undertake a revision of the narcotics law to reduce the penalties associated with marijuana. However, until changes in the state law are made, we recommend a temporary expedient measure within Ann Arbor to deal with the marijuana problem. Several communities within Southeastern Michigan have already adopted an ordinance making the use and possession of marijuana a misdemeanor. We recommend that the Ann Arbor City Council adopt such an ordinance. Law enforcement agencies will then have available to them a means of dealing with marijuana other than subjecting an individual to long term imprisonment. Because marijuana tends to be utilized largely by the youth of the community, it seems particularly unfortunate that such persons are branded as felons and subjected to prison environments f or long periods of time. If further studies of marijuana confirm that its use does not constitute a significant risk to health (perhaps less of a risk than alcohol and cigarettes), we would recommend that the community give serious consideration to licensing procedures for marijuana distribution. Such a system would be similar to that used in connection with the sale of alcoholic beverages. This committee is discouraged by the new federal legislation dealing with narcotics and dangerous drugs. Drugs should be scheduled according to the dangers inherent in their use rather than according to their medical usefulness. Amphetamines and barbiturates should, by this definition, be classified among the most harmful of drugs and should require the more severe penalties. Marijuana, though without legitimate medical use, is least harmful and should require the least severe penalties. We are recommending these changes to our federal and state representatives. The new federal legislation attempts to control the manufacture of drugs; we would encourage parallel efforts at the state level. At the present time, large quantities of drugs emanating from drug manufacturers are reaching the illegal market, and both federal and state law enforcement agencies must be given adequate legal means t o avoid this diversion of drugs into the blackmarket. We recommend that the state legislature adopt appropriate legislation authorizing control over manufacturers and the distribution of drugs. Necessarily, this is a problem which transcends the boundaries of Ann Arbor, but Ann Arbor cannot be protected from this source of drug traffic unless appropriate federal and state laws are enacted and enforced. The committee recommends that persons charged with first drug offenses be treated as misdemeanors, or, that charges against them be dismissed whenever possible. Counseling or treatment services should be recommended by the courts, when appropriate. As an additional measure, there should be a local mechanism for expunging the records of offenders under 21 convicted of drug possession or use, authorized at the discretion of the courts. A special problem has come to the attention of the committee with respect to various treatment programs for drug users within the community. The probleme of drug abuse within the community involves many young people, yet ir cannot legally be given medical treatment without parental consent. In instances minors who would b from such treatment are unwillii submit themselves to that trea because of the necessity of info: their parents of the problem involved. At the present time in Miei minors may be treated for venereal disease without parental consent, recommend this as a model for 1 tion so that minors may be treat drug abuse problems without parental consent. Although family intervent drug abuse problems is preferí cannot always be constructively mented. Therefore, a measure o resort is necessary to protect th f are and health of minors. A summ recommendations: A. DRUG EDUCATION 1) The public schools are urj develop innovative drug education programs appropriate to grades K-12, ed through the Board of Education. 2) Local organizations are ur address themselves to drug education as independent efforts, and in cc tion with the schools. 3) The Arm Arbor Community is to support the educational and "If further studies of marijuana confirm that its does not constitute a significant risk to health (per less of a risk than alcohol and cigarettes), we w recommend that the community give serious eons ation to licensing procedures for marijuana distribu Such a system would be similar to that used in coi tion with the sale of alcoholic beverages." y services of grass roots groups is Drug Help, Ozone House, Tribal il and the Free Medical Clinic. COMMUNITY SERVICES More attention must be paid to the itional needs of younger teen-agers i Arbor. i drug information repository must tablished at the Public Library so material can be easily available to community. A drug analysis center must bc ished and its services made ayailto responsible groups and individuthe community. An employment services agency ïg a variety of age groups and purmust be established. A permanent county-wide drug littee to review problems and as well as the efficacy and mcy of existing treatment and eduï programs must be established. DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAMS A county wide drug treatment promust be established. lts services d include: Crisis Centers Mobil Crisis Teams Detoxification Centers Drug Analysis Laboratory Methadone Programs lalf-way Houses Community Action Work Centers Multi-lodge Residences LAW ENFORCEMENT Law enforcement agencies should éntrate efforts on control over the ie of "hard drugs" in the communiwith emphasis on those deriving i financial gain by their involvet in drug traffic. The community should support ts of law enforcement agencies to blish larger more highly trained otic and drug enforcement units. Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to cooperate with efforts in the black community to combat drug traffic. 4) The Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments should undertake to organize several law enforcement agencies in an effort to close down various fencing operations in this area. E. LAW REFORM 1) The community should support efforts within the State of Michigan to change the state law in regard to criminal punishment in all marijuana cases. 21 The committee recommends the removal of marijuana from the narcotics category; making the use and possession of any amount a misdemeanor. 3) Üntil changes in the state law are made, the committee recommends the adoption of a local ordinance making the use and possession of marijuana a misdemeanor. 4) The committee recommends to our State and Federal Representatives a reclassification of drugs according to the dangers inherent in their use rather than according to their medical usefulness. 5) The committee encourages efforts at Hip state level to control the manufacture of drugs. 6) The committee recommends that persons charged with first drug offenses be treated as misdemeanants or that charges against them be dismissed whenever possible in order that counseling and treatment services can be made available to them. 7) The committee recommends a legal mechanism for expunging the records of offenders under 21 who have been convicted of drug possession or use. 8) The committee recommends legislation that will permit minors to be treated without parental consent for drug abuse problems.
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