Last weekend was the 40th anniversary of Ann Arbor’s Hash Bash Festival. For those of you who don’t know, Hash Bash is a gathering of Michigan’s finest medical marijuana activists, proponents, and smokers. The day consists of speakers, live music, vendors (usually, but this year the Ann Arbor City Administrator banned all vending…the dick), rallying, and of course, lots of delicious buds – all conveniently centered around University of Michigan’s Diag. The event takes place at noon on the first Saturday in April every year. But for what reason, exactly? You’re about to find out.
On March 9th, 1972, the Michigan Supreme Court found the law used to convict cultural activist John Sinclair for possession of two marijuana joints to be unconstitutional. This action left the State of Michigan without a law prohibiting the use of marijuana until after the weekend of April 1st, 1972 – Hence Hash Bash.
Since then, the marijuana laws in the state have become some of the more lax in the country (they passed a medical marijuana bill in 2008), with Ann Arbor as the centerpiece of leniency: An unlawful possession of marijuana charge there is little more than a slap on the wrist and a fine about the price of a dub sack…Which is why it’s the perfect location for Hash Bash. Check out the Zig Zag Rolling Paper Guys below (who, by the way, are looking for people who took pictures of/with them. So if you have some, send them a message on Facebook)…fucking awesome.
Out of the 6,000 attendees this year (obviously all users of the magical green herb), only 10 people were arrested or charged with use or possession…and I’m sure none of them minded getting a civil infraction charge (as opposed to the usual misdemeanor or felony that comes with a UPM in most states). Not to say that I know the nature of all of these arrests, I’m just assuming they were weed-related.
But there’s always a catch: The Diag is part of the University of Michigan, which is state property – and the state has stricter penalties than does the town of Ann Arbor, so if you decide to attend next year, be wary of where you toke up. Just a warning.
But the event is really all about having fun and gathering with other open-minded people. So those of you in the UMich area next April: smoke up, eat plenty of delicious food because you know you’re going to get the munchies real bad (Dominic’s – we hear you can basically smoke on their porch, NYPD Pizza – get a Chicken Ziti Roll, Ashley’s – a great pub, Tios – if you want a burrito, The Fleetwood – they have a dish called Hippie Hash [a mix of hash browns, feta cheese, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, etc.], Zingerman’s – sandwiches and free samples, China Gate for well…Chinese, Totoro for sushi, and Cupcake Station – yes, you heard me…fuckin’ cupcakes), enjoy some live music (I hear The Blind Pig is a good place to go when the sun starts going down), and possibly walk away with a new, beautiful piece of smoking paraphernalia from one of the many head shops within a two block radius of each other (Foggy Bottom Bayou, Stairway to Heaven, 42 Degrees, and Smoka Hookah).
Ann Arbor knows how to burn with the best of them, so next year, make Hash Bash a priority!