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Prosecutor's Effort Fails To Halt Pot 'Giveaway'

Prosecutor's Effort Fails To Halt Pot 'Giveaway' image
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A last-minute attempt to stop a drawing for a "free pound" of illegal marijuana failed Friday and the drawing took place as scheduled. The name of the winner was pulled from a gunny sack containing 4,500 entries by County Cmsr. Catherine McClary, D-Ann Arbor, who immediately slipped the piece of paper into her pocket. McClary said she would later reveal the winner's name to the Ann Arbor Sun,, an anti-establishment newspaper which sponsored the drawing, and it will arrange for delivery of the "high-grade Colombian smoking marijuana." The attempt to stop the drawing by county Prosecutor Williám F. Delhey was set aside by Circuit Court Judge William F. Ager Jr. because the defendants in a suit Delhey filed, members of the Sun's staff, were not properly served with the suit. Delhey acknowledged in court that while the court order for a show-cause hearing to stop the drawing had been served, the defendants were not given copies of Delhey's original petition (suit). Even if Judge Ager had ordered the drawing stopped, it would have been too late. Only minutes after the court hearing ended, McClary reached into the bag and pulled out the piece of paper containing the winner's name. The Sun had originally planned to have the drawing inside the first floor lobby of City Hall, in front of the pólice department's quarters. Instead, it was held outside the City Hall ground floor entrance, but still within easy eyeshot of gazing officers. David Fenton, managing editor of the Sun, said the site was changed because 'things seemed a little uptight in front of the pólice station, l it's a beautiful day outside. so whgJhell." The alleged giveaway was the top prize in a Sun circulation drive. Other prizes, scheduled to be awarded at a dance held Friday night, includedfnovie tickets and tee shirts. After the court hearing, Prosecutor Delhey acknowledged that the court action was a bit unusual. "Generally you don't seek injunctive relief (to stop the 1 arawing; lor possible violations of criminal law." But he added he feit this case was "somewhat of a hybrid." About the drawing, Delhey said, "It bothered me . . ." It seems inherently wrong to do this sort of thing." He said he's not a reader of the Sun and wasn't aware of the "giveaway" until late Thursday afternoon when the Ann Arbor pólice department asked if something could or should be done. The failure to properly serve the defendants was caused by a "breakdown in Communications," Delhey said. He added he doesn't have the staff to conduct his own investigation into the drawing, but said he would consider any evidence produced by área pólice departments. Ann Arbor Pólice Chief Walter Krasny also indicated he wasn't planning any major investigation. "We are not going to assign a half dozen people to it," he said. He added, "I don't think we can make a conspiracy case out of it if we wanted to. We didn't get too excited about it in the first place, but everyone else did so we had to do our thing." After the drawing, McClary said she would not be involved in the actual ery, but would certify that the winner got the pot. "I will ask the winner if I can I have a joint," she added. McClary, who took office Jan. 1 and is chairwoman of the Board of Commissioners' Ways and Means Committee, described herself as "a normal, hardworking j person who believes things should be changed." She said she feels her constitutents j agree with the Sun's philosophy for Iegalizing marijuana. She represents the central city area, which includes most of the University campus. Fenton said the valué of the pound of j marijuana was between $200 and $300. "U's about like giving away a hi-fi," he said. The purpose of the contest, he added, was both to boost the Sun's circulation, which he placed at between 8,000 and 9, 000, and to point out the paper's support for legalizing pot. But he noted the Sun i is "completely opposed to hard drugs." I The contest, which allegedly received I entries from all over the country, was I planned as a one-time only promotion. I But Fenton said he didn't rule out the I possibility that it will happen again.