Ann Arbor to Host 53rd Hash Bash in Tribute to Cannabis Reform Pioneers

April 1st, 2024 Events & Conferences
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Ann Arbor is gearing up for the 53rd Hash Bash on Saturday, an event that has been a cornerstone in the advocacy for cannabis reform since its inception over five decades ago at the University of Michigan Diag.

The event will commence at noon on April 6th with local musician Laith Al-Saadi playing the national anthem on guitar. Al-Saadi will also perform alongside John Sinclair, providing an engaging musical highlight, according to event organizer Jamie Lowell.

This year, the Hash Bash will pay tribute to the figures who have played pivotal roles in Michigan's cannabis reform movement. Lowell announced an impressive lineup of speakers, including Sinclair and Adam Brook, famously known as "Mr. Hash Bash."

The origins of Hash Bash date back to April 1972, following a freedom rally that was partly organized by musician John Lennon to support Ann Arbor poet John Sinclair. Sinclair had been imprisoned for possession of cannabis, sparking significant outcry. His release, following the overturning of Michigan's felony cannabis law, led to the first Hash Bash and Ann Arbor's subsequent decriminalization of cannabis.

The event has been a staple every first Saturday in April, drawing thousands to Ann Arbor alongside the Monroe Street Fair.

This year's roster of speakers includes seasoned activists such as Leni Sinclair, Chuck Ream, and Tim Beck, alongside representatives from the Michigan Psychedelic Society and the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office, among others. Politicians including Sen. Jeff Irwin, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, and state Rep. Jimmie Wilson Jr., as well as officials from Gaylord and Pontiac, are slated to speak.

Michael Thompson, who served 25 years for cannabis-related charges, will share his story, underscoring the ongoing legal challenges faced by individuals over cannabis.

The theme will also remember late activists Rick Thompson, Brad Lemke, Gersh Avery, and Rhory Gould, honoring their contributions to the movement.

The event will conclude with a performance from Tom Wall and Cosmic Knot, featuring a unique "plant jamming" session. The Student Association for Psychedelic Studies has been credited with obtaining the necessary permits for the event.

Attendees will have the opportunity to visit educational booths by various organizations, including the Great Lakes Expungement Network, ensuring a day of learning and advocacy. To maintain the integrity of the event, the sale of products on site is prohibited.

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