• Alexander Bencore

Ann Arbor Students Take the Wheel on Drug Policy

Marijuana Moment posted this uplifting story today:


Ann Arbor Could Decriminalize Drugs With Student-Led Effort

“A student group has launched a campaign to decriminalize drug possession and low-level distribution in Ann Arbor, Michigan, (home of the University of Michigan Wolverines) after months of consulting with members of the community. The University of Michigan chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) drafted the Ann Arbor Resolution to Advance Sensible Drug Policy.


The “RESOLUTION” is 1 page of statements about the failure of the War on Drugs; and 4 pages of resolutions that the City Council should undertake. Gotta hand it to the kids – they’re driving the conversation in a new and sensible direction.


THE DEEP DIVE


Three of the big ideas contained in the students’ Resolution are

  1. A shift needs to be made from Law Enforcement of drugs, toward a Healthcare-based solutions, such as have been successfully instituted in Portugal, and more recently in Oregon where it got “58% of the vote, and is supported by the majority of voters in the United States:”

  2. “The group’s consultations with various community stakeholders led to a suggested permitted threshold of 15 grams of any drug, and

  3. … To “shift the possession of drugs to be the lowest priority for local law enforcement. It would ban use of city resources to criminalize possession and use of drugs—and do the same for distribution of drugs in quantities below that 15 gram threshold, while acknowledging that federal and state drug laws would still apply on paper.

The kids are putting out an aggressive agenda and 90-day timetable to get stuff done:


“AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

  • That the Ann Arbor City Council shall convene a working group comprised of people who use drugs, community justice advocates, public health professionals, students, and representatives from municipal departments, to determine the most sensible path of implementation of this resolution, and creation of a full ordinance within 90 days of the passage of this resolution.

  • Acting in accordance with a public health approach to substance use, police department personnel and prosecutors should not hold seats on the working group, but may be consulted by working group members regarding the implementation of the resolution”

THE LOOP BACK


Pretty ballsy, kicking law enforcement to the curb like this.


But realistic: we’ve all seen what happens when they’re involved: years of squabbling about “traffic accidents” and “public safety” that are not borne out by facts. The PoPo want to protect their power and authority, and their BUDGETS. That battle is not likely to end soon.


And while this may sound ambitious for a CITY to push for drug reform, remember that in the US, states are more than 25 years ahead of the federal government on cannabis reform, and this Resolution is simply pushing a City ahead of its State. Detroit and Seattle are among the cities that have taken similar steps.


And so has Ann Arbor. In 2020, the city voted to make entheogens—including psilocybin mushrooms, peyote and ibogaine—the “lowest law enforcement priority.”


The city has since started a yearly Entheofest.


LAST WORD: State Senator Jeff Irwin supports the initiative: “I’m proud to join SSDP in their campaign to decriminalize drug possession in Ann Arbor… The ‘War on Drugs’ has been a complete failure. Addiction is a health issue, not a crime. We need to focus on treatment and rehabilitation.”


Go Wolverines!



Image source: https://www.thefire.org/schools/university-of-michigan-ann-arbor/