The University is at the top of the charts again. But unlike rankings based on academic reputation or admissions, the administration probably isn’t very proud of this one.
High Times magazine, a publication dedicated to marijuana and the culture surrounding it, listed the University as the sixth most stoner-friendly college in the nation in August. The magazine says it ranks the colleges “from the cannabis community’s point of view.”
The magazine cited Ann Arbor’s annual Hash Bash as a reason for the high ranking.
The goal of Hash Bash – a 35-year-old event held on the Diag – is to reform marijuana laws.
Ann Arbor is considered a haven for marijuana smokers because the drug has been effectively decriminalized in the city. Marijuana possesion is a $25 civil infraction everywhere in Ann Arbor except for campus property.
Campus property is owned by the state, meaning that possessors apprehended on campus will face state possession charges. The state penalty is a misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $100 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail.
In 2004, Ann Arbor voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot proposal waiving fines for medicinal marijuana use.
High Times also cited the University as a stoner-friendly college because it was a center of Vietnam-era counterculture. Activist John Sinclair, who was given a 10-year prison sentence for marijuana possesion, called Ann Arbor home, as did influential rock band MC5 and the anti-war group Students for a Democratic Society. Former Michigan Daily editor in chief Tom Hayden was among the group’s founders.
The magazine also noted that Ann Arbor has “some of the best grass the Midwest marijuana scene has to offer.”
LSA sophomore Tasha Bryant, a member of a Facebook.com group named “Drug-free Students,” disagrees with the rankings.
“I don’t know anyone who does any drugs,” she said. “I find it surprising that we are that high on the list.”
She said the rankings represent the University poorly.
According to a 2005 survey administered by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, about 49.1 percent of college students and 57 percent of young adults (ages 19 to 28) report having used marijuana. The office is responsible for creating a national drug control strategy.
Top ten cannabis colleges
1. University of Colorado
2. University of Wisconsin
3. University of Florida
4. University of Oregon
5. Hampshire College
South Amherst, Mass.
6. University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Mich.
7. New College of Florida
8. Humboldt State University
9. Wesleyan University
10. University of Vermont