For almost half a century, marijuana enthusiasts from all walks of life have come together to celebrate Hash Bash. The Ann Arbor festival protests marijuana’s illegal status—all while celebrating the herb with live music, speeches, vendors and a whole lot of weed. Hash Bash is always on the first Saturday of April on the Diag at the University of Michigan. Here’s an inside look at the 2018 Hash Bash.
What is Hash Bash?
It goes all the way back to 1972. Back then, the Michigan Supreme Court convicted John Sinclair, a poet and activist, for marijuana possession. The sentence was 10 years for possession of two joints. Many were outraged by the severity of Sinclair’s punishment, and he was eventually released in 1971.
Since then, people who support legalization have gathered in Ann Arbor to celebrate weed culture. Nowadays, famous athletes, celebrities and prominent marijuana activists are in attendance. Hash Bash even rents out the entire Wyndham Garden Hotel & Hampton Inn for the epic Hash Bash cup.
Not only should Hash Bash be a major event on your cannabis calendar, but it’s one of the first of its kind.
Hash Bash Is Often Controversial
Thousands of people attended the 47th Hash Bash this past weekend. And this year, no one was arrested.
Historically, this hasn’t always been the case. According to the MLive, the police arrested 56 people in 2000 and 74 people in 1999. Last year, the authorities arrested one person for violating the Controlled Substances Act.
An Inside Look At The 2018 Hash Bash Attendees
Hash Bash is a lot bigger than it was in the ’70s. This year, thousands of people attended, including some big names. Hash Bash organizer Nick Zettel set out to make this year’s event apart of Michigan legalization history.
“Besides making sure this is the last Hash Bash before legalization,” Zettel explained, “we can make sure that we get the best people elected to the most important positions in the state.”
This meant that a lot of the speakers were politicians. Two Democratic candidates for governor, Gretchen Whitmer and Abdul El-Sayed, spoke about legalization.
Whitmer hopes that recreational marijuana will go “to fix the damn potholes,” and El-Sayed said, “No one should be left with an arrest record.”
Another politician, Democratic attorney general candidate Dana Nessel, took the mic. Nessel told the crowd, “I attended my first Hash Bash in 1988 when I was a student here. I supported legalization then, and I support it now. It’s time to stop wasting our taxpayer dollars on this nonsense.”
Other speakers spoke to how marijuana has improved their health. Former Fox 2 News anchor Anqunette Jamison Sarfoh described her struggle with multiple sclerosis before marijuana.
“I needed a pill just to get out of bed,” Sarfoh told the audience. “Every other day, I would inject my body—either my side or my thigh or the back of my arm—with a medication that burned, […] and cost my insurance company $91,000 a year. It also made me violently ill.”
There was also a panel discussion on athletes and cannabis hosted by former NFL player Eugene Monroe and former NHL player Darren McCarty. Laith Al-Saadi, a finalist on NBC’s The Voice, performed the national anthem on the guitar.
Michigan Looks To Legalization In 2018
With recreational marijuana on the horizon for Michigan, Hash Bash was a critical opportunity to rally political support for legalization.
In November, Michigan residents will have an opportunity to vote for a ballot proposal that would legalize recreational marijuana.
There is such support for legalization that Republicans are attempting to push the vote forward in an attempt to curb support for democratic candidates.
Final Hit: An Inside Look At The 2018 Hash Bash
This year’s Hash Bash was a huge success when it came to galvanizing support for legalization—and looked like a whole lot of fun.
Hopefully next year’s Hash Bash will take the form of a celebration of legal recreational marijuana, and of the many ways (medical or recreational) it continues to change lives.
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