45th Hash Bash: A weed winter wonderland

Credit: Brendan Smoker

Thousands gathered on Saturday April, 2 in Ann Arbor to celebrate the annual Hash Bash and Monroe Street Fair. The event occurs on the first Saturday of April every year since the first protest back in 1972. Things began in response to Nixon’s “war on drugs” and Michigan’s drastic increase of marijuana arrests. It started out as a small gathering on University of Michigan’s diag and has expanded into an all-day smoke fest. This year turnout was a successful one despite the relentless snow.

Beginning at noon, there were consecutive speakers sharing their opposition to the marijuana laws. Not simply just legalizing marijuana, but advocating for laws that give users protection and clarity. Michigan homes are still be raided for home grows, parents are still fighting for custody of their children, and dispensaries owners are in constant worry that police may shut them down based on some small legality.

Along with the speakers were people playing guitar, drums, skateboarding, and dancing, most of them with a joint in their hand. There were DJ’s, live bands, spoken word and autograph signings from the infamous stoner Tommy Chong himself. This year also had more vendors than previous years including MI Legalize, Weedmaps, Arbor Side, Growgreen MI, plus local individuals selling wraps, pendants, baked goods, lollipops and water. All this going down in a constant flurry of snow and rain.

Saturday was a testament to how innovated stoners really are. The consistent stream of rain and snow had people under trees and dumpsters rolling their blunts. Astonishingly, bowls were staying cherried and lighters staying dry. It was eye-opening to see thousands of strangers coming together for the simple purpose of supporting marijuana and its benefits.

Beyond just supporting marijuana, it’s important to note all the business that Hash Bash brings. These thousands of smokers are getting high all over the city, many of which are going to restaurants and shops in the area to satisfy their munchies. Every store I passed was packed with stoned food-connoisseurs. All these people fried on THC; and yet, there were no problems with individuals over-dosing, throwing up, or enticing violence. In fact, when it came down to getting an officer’s opinion of the festivities, I couldn’t even find one to ask.

The lack of security is a testament to the harmlessness of people using marijuana. Hash Bashers are no longer getting arrested, but yet we still are locking up Michigan citizens for simple possession. However, the future does hold hope. Hope of this year being the year that Michigan legalizes marijuana for adults. Petitions were being passed around to get marijuana on the ballot for voting this November. To read the initiative or find a place to sign the petition, visit MI Legalize.

It’s pretty amazing that thousands of individuals will drive out to Ann Arbor in wintry weather simply to show support for marijuana. It is time to stop wasting tax dollars to process marijuana users. We could be using that money, plus the surplus from marijuana regulation, to fix the ridiculous roads that make up Michigan cities. Plus, purchase books and school supplies for our incredibly low-funded public schools system.

Regardless, Saturday was another successful Hash Bash. Next year’s bash will be a celebration of victory and no longer a protest for rationality. Saturday was certainly a wet one as we were all soaked. It didn’t matter though. The vibe was beautiful and the chronic delicious. I’ll see you next April to celebrate the long overdue celebration of marijuana legalization in Michigan.

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