Windsor government hopes to legalize the use of marijuana by next year

BY C. PRICE JONES
Daily Staff Report
Published September 9, 2002

The nearest locale of exotic clubs, alcohol and gambling that caters to 19-year-old college students may be adding another party favor to the list of legal entertainment marijuana. As soon as next semester, pot could be made available to Michiganders via Windsor, Canada.

Concerning students' traveling to Windsor, Ann Arbor Police Department Sgt. Blackwell said that the best thing to do is to remain in Windsor until sober.

"If marijuana is legalized in Windsor, it's not going to change our enforcement activity," Blackwell said.

"We can write you for a minor in possession for the alcohol in your system," he said.

"If someone were being disorderly, swinging on a stop sign, they might get a ticket for being disorderly and the minor in possession for the alcohol even though you may have consumed it in Windsor. The same goes for marijuana."

Despite the fact that marijuana could become legal in Windsor, the ease of buying pot in Ann Arbor outweighs the trouble of driving to Windsor and possibly being searched or detained at customs checkpoints if they are more heavily enforced.

"The legalization of pot in Windsor is not going to cause a huge upswing of students going there," Angelica Leone, chairman for the University chapter of the Students for a Sensible Drug Policy. "A lot of people already go there to drink, so people will just spend more money if they go there."

Leone added that even though pot is not that expensive in Ann Arbor, some students might go to Windsor for the atmosphere and freedom, the similar environment as in Amsterdam.

She added that others would stay in Ann Arbor because going through customs will be a hassle and coming back will be an even greater hassle.

The Canadian government will decide sometime in the next year if the Senate panel's recommendation to legalize and regulate growth, sale and use of marijuana and hashish should become law. However, if students can just as easily buy marijuana in Ann Arbor, the new law's effect on the University will be diminished if not made irrelevant.

"It's not hard to find weed here, so there's no point to go an hour drive to Windsor," Engineering Senior Touseef Bhatti said. "People are going to buy it anywhere they want to."

Bhatti added that people who had never smoked marijuana before might be more likely to experiment in Windsor without being arrested but others would just buy pot in Ann Arbor.

Other Canadian cities such as Vancouver have been known to take a liberal stance concerning marijuana. According to one study by a Toronto-based research group Compas, Inc., over 60 percent of the citizens of Vancouver believed that marijuana should be legalized.