When I first moved to Michigan in the mid 80’s I worked in Ann Arbor and quickly learned what a cool town it was in many ways. Of course the University of Michigan has a big influence on the town, but it also has some counterculture history. The Hash Bash started back in 1972. A group along with John Lennon had come to town for a freedom rally to bring attention to poet and activist John Sinclair. He had been sentenced to ten years in prison because he was caught with two joints.
As with everything these days the pandemic affected this year’s Hash Bash, last year and this year it was mostly a virtual event, but a smoke in protest was still planned at the Diag. Adam Brook who is a previous organizer of the event, says “The Annual smoke in was a protest of marijuana laws, including the prohibition against smoking in public.”
One of the speakers in the virtual event was our own Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, she thinks Michigan has made great strides on marijuana law reform.
“Cannabis reform is needed to ensure restorative justice,” she said. “Marijuana law reform would reduce the harm to people in communities of color who are disproportionately impacted by current cannabis laws, create jobs and economic opportunities as the legalization or regulation of marijuana would bring one of the largest cash crops under the rule of law, save taxpayer dollars and allow already scarce law enforcement resources to be better used to ensure safe communities while simultaneously reducing the burden on our courts and corrections system.”
Openly smoking marijuana in public is not legal, accordion to the Ann Arbor Police. Both the Ann Arbor Police and the U of M’s Division of Public Safety were on hand to keep an eye on the event, even though Covid-19 orders don’t allow a public gathering of more than 300. The attendance was only about 500 to 700 people, with no arrests. This year's event was much smaller than the last full blown hash bash in 2019 when over 10,000 participated.
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