There has been a rocky history of cannabis laws in the United States.
For years it was used as a pharmaceutical medication for a variety of ailments, especially nausea.
When it was turned into a political weapon in the 1930s, the government sought to change the public perception of the plant. I can’t imagine being a person in their 30s or 40s and a life-long user of marijuana while watching the country devolve into a multi-generational drug war and prohibition on a plant of all things. The jazz community kept the use of cannabis alive in the countercultural scene, which influenced Beat writers like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs. These gentlemen in turn influenced the entire hippy generation and their practices and values. During this burgeoning countercultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, student groups in Ann Arbor and other progressive American cities were pushing to change drug laws and the government’s reaction to drug offenses. They effectively pushed Ann Arbor into becoming one of the first cities in the United States to decriminalize cannabis and issued $5 fines to anyone busted in private or public with the plant. Assuming you weren’t carrying enough cannabis to look like an obvious drug dealer, you were fine. These days the fine is much larger, and you’re likely to find strict enforcement of the law against public intoxication. I wouldn’t want to risk an OUI in my car just from burning a joint on my way home from the grocery store. Ann Arbor might benefit from Michigan’s recreational cannabis status, but the police are not above arresting someone for public disturbances.