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    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

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    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Food trucks go to the dogs

    Today, starting at 10am, Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck will be swinging by the  Cherry Hill Village at Preservation Park on  N. Roosevelt St. in Canton. They’ll be serving the pups (“gour-mutts,” as Milo’s calls them) treats and the dog parents the opportunity of “family portraits.” Milo’s is on a cross-country food truck trip, promoting their “grilled burger bites” and “chicken meatballs” to pup parents from L.A. to NYC, with stops in between, including Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the Carolinas, and Arkansas. But watch out! Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck markets “real chicken and beef home-style dog treats” that are are “wholesome” and “authentic” without “artificial flavors or colors-made right here in the USA.” Authentic, processed food that is. Remember what George Carlin said about “home-style”? Their treats are also packed with soy, TVP, wheat flour, tapioca, rice, and sugar–fillers that make the meat go far and aren’t the best for your pup. They’re also packed with preservatives, like sodium erythorbate, nitrates, BHA, sodium tripolyphosphate, and potassium sorbate. Small amounts are probably ok, and no doubt the pup will love it, the same way it’s easy for humans to love carb- and sugar- laden, processed and preserved, treats.  

    The post Food trucks go to the dogs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych

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    The post Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • First Little League game at Navin Field today

    Today Navin Field (the Old Tiger Stadium) hosts its first Little League game on a new field made just to host the youngsters! Here’s a photo of the game happening right now, courtesy Tom Derry and Metro Times‘ copy editor extraordinaire, Dave Mesrey: Stop by the site (corner of Michigan and Trumbull) today to watch history in the making!

    The post First Little League game at Navin Field today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Higher Ground

Ann Arbor Didn’t Go to Pot

A place that marijuana activists look to with a gleam in their eyes

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If Michigan has a “city upon a hill,” a beaming locale that is a showplace for the state, a place where the economy seems to roll along with hardly a glitch, a place “where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average,” to borrow the description of Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon, it would be Ann Arbor.

With the University of Michigan, the U-M hospital, the annual art fair, a popping downtown and plenty of people walking the neighborhoods, an abundance of jobs and a low crime rate, Ann Arbor is the kind of place that lots of cities would like to be.

It’s also been a place that marijuana activists look to with a gleam in their eyes — and a bit of envy. In 1974, Ann Arbor voters passed a revision to the city charter decriminalizing marijuana and making possession of less than 2 ounces a civil infraction, punishable by a $5 fine for the first offense. In 1990, citizens voted to raise the penalty to $25 despite Republican Mayor Gerald D. Jerrigan’s claim that the lenient law was an “embarrassment” to the city.

Now, as activists across Michigan force municipalities to consider decriminalizing marijuana, people must seriously consider the effect of that policy in their towns. Five cities in Michigan voted last fall to soften penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana; Ferndale, Jackson and Lansing have petition initiatives in place to put the question to voters this fall.

In recent years, every time Michigan voters get to choose they have voted to soften the marijuana laws. This has become so prevalent that anti-marijuana forces, feeling threatened, have begun to push back. A “Mobilizing Michigan: Protecting Our Kids from Marijuana” campaign kicked off in Macomb County a few weeks ago. Rep. Sander Levin stood with them and promised to bring more federal anti-drug money to the state for combating drugs. Many of these people are truly afraid of what might happen if marijuana was legalized.

As arguments are made, pro and con, maybe it’s a good idea to look at the city with the state’s longest-lived decriminalization policy. (That would be Ann Arbor.) Apparently the place has not gone to hell since sanctions against the evil weed were lowered.

“The nightlife is above average for a city of our size [pop. 114,000], we’ve got great schools, great parks and the lowest unemployment rate in the state,” says state Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, and who recently introduced a bill to decriminalize marijuana statewide. “There are a lot of things going for Ann Arbor. The decriminalization that the community enacted decades ago, I think is a good example of how a local community can address these issues in a more reasonable and successful way. Marijuana is in communities all over Michigan and governments are completely impotent in addressing that. … We need to educate young people about making smart choices. Prohibition doesn’t result in the outcome we’re looking for.”

Ann Arbor also showed atop a listing of Michigan “Hot Spots” on the Pure Michigan website last week, with the notation that it’s “where the pulse of a big city comes with the handshake of a small town … A place that embraces the unique and unusual.”

Maybe there’s something in trying to embrace Ann Arbor’s “uniqueness.” On May 1, Grand Rapids authorized implementation of a decriminalization statute, six months after it was voted in — although the city manager is calling it a “pilot program.” Maybe the city needs to see how things go there, but Ann Arbor’s been piloting that program for four decades.

Charmie Gholson, co-founder of Michigan Mothers Against Prohibition and an Ann Arbor resident, points to another example of what happens when “War on Drugs” laws are rescinded: Portugal — that small country on the Iberian peninsula — decriminalized all drugs 12 years ago. Gholson heard the Portuguese health minister speak in Buffalo, N.Y., at a recent Drug Policy Alliance event.

“When police there catch people using or possessing any illegal drugs, they now refer them to a doctor. They discuss their drug use with a doctor,” says Gholson. “Drug use has not gone up, but the HIV and AIDS rates have gone down.”

The bottom line is, there are plenty of examples to dispute the doomsayers when they say marijuana is going to “destroy our community.” There are 17 states, including our neighbor Ohio, that have already decriminalized possession of small amounts of the substance. And in Michigan you can almost play a game of “what city am I in” with the mosaic of laws that are popping up.

Let’s see, I’m in Detroit: It’s legal to have as much as 1 ounce. I’m in Grand Rapids: it a civil offense, with a $100 fine. It’s like the dry county-wet county issue you sometimes run into when traveling (hello, Indiana). You can’t have it here, but you can have it there. Maybe it would help to make a map of the state denoting what the laws are in order to keep it straight. The problem is, you’d have to amend it often since things seem to be changing so fast.

The Lansing initiative has the support of Mayor Virg Bernero. Marijuana is getting so popular in Michigan it seems like he would have done better had he run on a pro-marijuana ticket during his failed 2010 bid for governor.

“Marijuana is available all over Michigan,” Irwin says. “We need to stop pretending that marijuana prohibition is working. It’s stale. It’s not working to keep marijuana out of the hands of anyone. In order to protect children we have to give them information to make the right choices. We need to have a more honest policy.”

Even conservative Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, whose home is in Ann Arbor, has shown no interest in fighting the tide of marijuana reform ⎯ although he has signed a slew of conservative legislation into law. Maybe he has seen the impact on Ann Arbor and it’s not as bad as some think.

“We don’t have roving bands of teenagers trying to offer people pot,” Gholson says.

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We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

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Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
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