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‘Hash Bash’ Town May Boost Marijuana Fine From $5 to $25

January 9, 1990

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) _ Marijuana use might get more risky this spring in this university city known for its annual Hash Bash - voters are being asked to decide whether to raise the $5 fine for possession or sale to $25.

The city’s 1974 marijuana law, in addition to setting the $5 fine, requires that city police ticket rather than arrest pot offenders.

City Council voted 9-2 Monday to put the stiffer fine on the April 2 ballot.

Mayor Jerry Jernigan has been pushing against the existing law since last year. Residents defeated a proposed repeal of the $5 pot law in 1983 by a vote of 13,977 to 8,660.

A Hash Bash rally for legalization of marijuana is held every April 1 on the University of Michigan campus. In 1989, the 19th rally drew about 1,000 high school and college students. Fifteen people were ticketed for possession.

Many in the gallery at the Council meeting spoke against toughening the ordinance.

″Affordable housing, health care and other issues await your serious attention. Council fights its theatrical drug war while drug treatment goes unfunded,″ former Councilman Jeff Upton said.

City resident Jan Schnell urged approval. ″Across the nation, this city is known for real lenient penalties for pot,″ he said. ″You council members need to know Ann Arbor is a laughingstock because of $5 pot.″

Police records show that in the past 2 1/2 years, 308 tickets were written under the $5 marijuana law.

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