Celebrating Cannabis Advocacy: Highlights from the 53rd Annual Hash Bash in Ann Arbor

April 8th, 2024 Culture & Lifestyle
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Thousands of individuals from Ann Arbor and beyond gathered at the University of Michigan Diag on Saturday, participating in the 53rd annual Hash Bash, a festival with a long history of advocating for the federal legalization and decriminalization of cannabis. The event, a staple since 1972, attracted University of Michigan students, local residents, and cannabis enthusiasts from various regions, underscoring its enduring appeal and significance in the cannabis reform movement.

This year's Hash Bash featured an array of booths and tables offering a variety of cannabis products and related paraphernalia on the Diag, complemented by a selection of food trucks along Tappan Street, enriching the festival atmosphere. Prominent among the speakers at the event were State Senator Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor and Josey Scoggin, director of the Great Lakes Expungement Network, who took to the front steps of the Hatcher Graduate Library to address the crowd.

While the festival's roots are in advocating for cannabis legalization and decriminalization, the focus of this year's gathering shifted towards supporting individuals with cannabis possession-related charges on their records, reflecting the changing landscape of cannabis legislation. Senator Irwin, in an interview, highlighted Ann Arbor's pivotal role in national cannabis reform activism, praising Michigan's approach to developing the cannabis industry.

Becky Walters, a Michigan resident and volunteer for Sons and Daughters United, emphasized the ongoing relevance of the organization's efforts. Despite the progress in decriminalization, the legal status of cannabis remains varied across the country, with many individuals still facing incarceration for cannabis-related offenses. The organization aims to raise funds for the expungement of such charges, particularly focusing on cannabis-related cases.

Ethan Goldiez, a sophomore at the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and a member of the Student Association for Psychedelic Studies, underscored the importance of continuing the Hash Bash tradition. The association, a sponsor of this year's event, views its involvement as a privilege and recognizes the community's strong support for such gatherings.

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