The History of Marijuana in Michigan

Michigan has a history with cannabis that starts as early as 1967, when a local college paper, the Michigan Daily, urged the state to legalize marijuana. Shortly after, the city of Ann Arbor actually responded, after poet and activist John Sinclair was arrested for possessing two joints. In 1969, Sinclair was sentenced to ten years in prison for offering two marijuana cigarettes to two undercover agents, which stirred outrage among the public. Then in 1971, after only serving part of his sentence, 15,000 people, including John Lennon, attended the John Sinclair Freedom Rally to protest Sinclair’s jailing.

After the rally, many began to question the severity of Sinclair’s sentence, including the city of Ann Arbor, which voted to decriminalize marijuana a year later. Anyone found in possession of less than two ounces of marijuana faced a civil-infraction worth $5. Today, this fine still applies in the city costing $25, which is actually less than the original fine after accounting for inflation. This law is considered the most liberal ordinance in the United States because many think of the fine “sort of like a parking ticket”. Now, the whole state of Michigan isn’t quite as liberal, though it legalized medical marijuana in 2008 and continue to push for further legalization.


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