Proposal C, if passed, will amend Ann Arbor’s charter to
allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. This means users
of marijuana with the recommendation of a qualified health
professional not be fined by Ann Arbor police, although they would
still be subject to arrest if using the drug on campus property.
The city currently has a law that makes marijuana possession
punishable by a $25 fine.
Even if this proposal is passed, it will still be illegal to
possess medical marijuana under state and federal law. Users will
thus stand the risk of arrest and prosecution by state and federal
law enforcement officers. Gov. Jennifer Granholm also opposes the
The initiative also proposes to lower the fine for third and
subsequent offenses to $100.
The proposal was authored by Rich Birkett, who is running for a
City Council seat in Ann Arbor’s 3rd ward.
“I personally know medical marijuana patients, and I
don’t think we should wait for marijuana to be totally legal
before we can help these people,” Birkett said. “At the
top of my list is passage of Proposal C.”
Charles Ream, a University alum and Scio Township trustee,
collected 7,000 petition signatures from Ann Arbor residents,
almost double the required number to place the initiative on the
ballot. Ream, 57, who said his stomach problems were cured after he
smoked cannabis joints in the sixties, said. “This is a
chance for the city to send a big message that we want to help
patients here, and that it is foolishness that marijuana is not
available to sick people.”
Some scientific research has shown medical marijuana does
produce results in treating glaucoma, nausea and loss of appetite.
However, many national medical organizations, such as the American
Medical Association, do not support the idea of legalizing medical
marijuana because they say more in-depth and controlled research
needs to be done before conclusive results can be obtained.
Medical marijuana is already legal in nine other states,
including California, Colorado and Vermont.
Proposal C — The text
Amendment to section 16.2 of the Ann Arbor City Charter
pertaining to marijuana or cannabis.
Shall section 16.2 of the Charter be amended to require waiver
of fines and costs upon proof that the defendant has a
recommendation of a physician, practitioner or other qualified
health professional to use or provide marijuana or cannabis for
medical treatment; to prohibit Ann Arbor police officers from
complaining, and the city attorney from referring any complaint, of
the possession, use, giving away, sale or cultivation of marijuana
upon proof of such recommendation; to prohibit other punitive or
rehabilitative measures; to establish an affirmative defense; and
to set the fine for third and subsequent offenses at $100?