Mayor Of Ann Arbor Says Marijuana Isn't City's Biggest Problem - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Mayor Of Ann Arbor Says Marijuana Isn't City's Biggest Problem


ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WLNS) - Ann Arbor decriminalized small amounts of marijuana more than 40 years ago. If you're caught in possession of it in the city, you'll be slapped with a $25 fine, a civil infraction.


Mayor of Ann Arbor since 1999, John Hieftje says alcohol use is a far greater concern with the dangers of people driving under the influence. But people on the front lines of substance abuse treatment and prevention tell a different story.


"Our police don't go looking for this and it just really never rises up to be any sort of an issue for anyone here," he says. "Alcohol is one of our biggest problems. Obviously students drink. Adults drink. But perhaps people who are recent adults maybe they drink a little more to excess, but again marijuana never even enters the conversation.

Glynis Anderson, founder of Home of New Vision, a facility treating substance abuse treatment and prevention, says she believes the prevalence of medical marijuana and relaxed laws on the drug make it seem safe.

"So to decriminalize it, I think we're just going to see an increase in the people seeking help for marijuana particularly with the strength of marijuana today," said Anderson.

In 2011, the majority of patients at the center were dependent on alcohol, a legal drug, and almost 10 percent marijuana. Anderson says that's up from past years.

The University of Michigan Campus Police added you can't tell a story about Ann Arbor without taking into account the population of the university, which is about equal to that of the city. On campus, Michigan state laws, not Ann Arbor city laws are in effect. They say that while marijuana use has gone up slightly in recent years, the main issue on campus is drinking.

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