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  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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News Feature

Marching Toward Critical Mass

Are Americans ready to legalize marijuana?

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Lest you think the above is some anomaly (and we’re pretty sure you don’t), the following is transcribed from another Nixon recording between the president and Haldeman, in the Oval Office, toward the end of May 1971:


Nixon: “Now, this is one thing I want. I want a goddamn strong statement on marijuana. Can I get that out of this sonofabitching, uh, [commission]?”

Haldeman: “Sure.”

Nixon: “I mean one on marijuana that just tears the ass out of them. I see another thing in the news summary this morning about it. You know it’s a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob, what is the matter with them? I suppose it’s because most of them are psychiatrists, you know, there’s so many, all the greatest psychiatrists are Jewish. By god we are going to hit the marijuana thing, and I want to hit it right square in the puss, I want to find a way of putting more on that. …”

Haldeman: “Mm hmm, yep.”


Haldeman and Ehrlichman were each found guilty of orchestrating that infamous break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex; both men served 18 months in federal custody.

Despite a seeming respite during the remainder of the 1970s, the crusade picked up with alacrity after the inauguration of Ronald Reagan in 1981. Throughout the next seven administrations, the viewpoint of at least more than half those Americans polled felt pot was too dangerous to view any other way then as a public scourge, like crack or heroin. 

But, that was then. (As a point of reference, “then” reaches as far back as 2011.)


What’s Turning the Tide?


THE PEW STUDY, which naturally has weed advocates buzzing, is groundbreaking in its unambiguous demonstration that a majority of Americans favor legalization. In a previous poll conducted by Gallup last November, the question of whether the federal government should take steps to enforce anti-marijuana laws in those states where marijuana use is legal, 64 percent of adults responded no; 34 percent said yes, the feds should trump state law. While an inference from the majority of respondents who said yes to states’ rights was that marijuana should be legal in all states, when the question was asked whether you think marijuana should be legal, less than half, or 48 percent, responded in the affirmative; 50 percent said pot should not be legal.

What’s happened between then and now?

While it’s not a simple answer, there seems to be a confluence of events that have led to a majority shift in opinion. By parsing Pew’s results, one of the biggest drivers of change becomes self-evident: There’s strength in numbers.

The percentage of support for legalizing pot is directly proportional to the generation of the respondent. For instance, members of what is called “The Silent Generation,” those born between 1925-1945, continue to be less supportive of marijuana legalization than younger adults, but even here the amount favoring legalization has nearly doubled — from 17 percent to 32 percent — since 2002.

Compare that with fully 65 percent of millennials — those adults born since 1980 who are now between the ages of 18 and 32 — who favor legalizing the use of marijuana, which is up from just 36 percent in 2008 and you’ll start to understand the game-changer.

“It’s an issue that has been framed in many different ways within recent years,” says John Strate, a political science professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. “But generational replacement is likely the biggest cause for the shift in public opinion. Those older Americans who have traditionally been against legalization are dying out and a younger, more liberal generation has filled the gap.”

Strate, who noted that political scientists would also examine the issue of legalization as a “moral politics” issue, said that the four decade-long war on drugs has also contributed to a shift in attitudes as more Americans have become aware of marijuana’s medicinal properties as being legitimate and not the bogus red herring as previous administrations claimed.

“Elected officials are often reluctant to deal with issues in this category (other examples would be abortion and assisted suicide),” Strate wrote in an email. “Because, whatever position they take are certain to alienate a certain proportion of the public. Most of these issues are capable of being framed in different ways so public opinion on some of them can be fluid.”

Yet there also has been a striking change in long-term attitudes among older generations, particularly baby boomers. Half of boomers now favor legalizing marijuana, among the highest percentages ever. In 1978, 47 percent of boomers favored legalizing marijuana, but support plummeted during the 1980s, reaching a low of 17 percent in 1990. Since 1994, however, the percentage of boomers favoring legalization has doubled, from 24 percent to 50 percent.

Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, and coming of age in the 1990s when there was widespread opposition to legalizing pot, has also expressed a dramatic increase in support for legalization — from just 28 percent in 1994 to 42 percent a decade later, and 54 percent currently, according to the Pew study.

Underscoring Strate’s notion of a moral issue being salient, part of the Pew study looked at whether respondents believed smoking pot to be a moral issue. Again, the numbers demonstrate a clear shift in attitude. Currently, 32 percent say that smoking marijuana is morally wrong, an 18-point decline since 2006, when 50 percent responded affirmatively to the question. Over this period, the percentage saying that smoking marijuana is not a moral issue has risen 15 points, from 35 percent in ’06 to 50 percent today.

As for that godforsaken War on Drugs, nearly three-quarters of Americans, 72 percent, say that federal efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth; and 60 percent say the federal government should not enforce federal laws prohibiting the use of marijuana in states where it is legal.

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