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Posted on Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 3:16 p.m.

Thousands pour into Ann Arbor for 40th annual Hash Bash

By Lisa Carolin


Linden, Mich., resident Russell Goodman smokes a nearly foot-long marijuana cigarette while people gather around and reach out for a chance to smoke it as well at the 40th annual Hash Bash.

Angela J. Cesere |

Thousands of people filled the University of Michigan Diag in Ann Arbor today, many of them echoing the same message sent at the first Hash Bash 40 years ago: Legalize marijuana.

However, the details of the message have evolved since the 2008 passage of Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Act , which prompted dispensaries for the still-controlled substance in and around Ann Arbor and the state.

Jon Payne of Ann Arbor observed that the mood at today’s Hash Bash was more of a celebration of progress than the protests that he recalled from years past - although concern about marijuana laws remains.

“What’s criminal is denying people their medicine,” said Payne, who has been attending the Hash Bash for many years. “I’m afraid that Michigan’s Republican governor and attorney general will be aggressive in their enforcement of marijuana.”

Traffic in downtown Ann Arbor was busier than usual around the time of the Hash Bash, and there was also a lot of foot traffic both downtown and on campus as the speeches started near noon, followed by the Monroe Street Fair immediately afterwards.

The Diag was a sea of people, with crowds estimated at about 6,500. The smell of marijuana was pervasive, despite a warning form from Hash Bash organizer Adam Brook that Campus police enforce the state law on U-M property, and that can mean marijuana possession is punishable by one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.

That didn’t stop Brandon Carle and his friends from Lapeer from sharing a joint.

“It’s much more liberal in Ann Arbor,” he said.

“We like being around like minded people,” said Tere Kloth from Oakland County, who also was partaking.

Volunteer Michael Labadie from Ypsilanti carried a bucket through the crowd collecting donations for what he called, “A good cause-the legalization of marijuana.”

Gary Johnson, former Republican Governor of New Mexico, was a featured speaker at today’s event. Brook referred to Johnson as, “the highest ranking official to call for the legalization of marijuana.”

“We need to legalize marijuana,” Johnson told the enthusiastic crowd. “46 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, and 30 million Americans are touched by the marijuana drug laws. Most of the people in jail connected to marijuana participated in non-violent, victimless crimes.”

One of the final speakers today was activist John Sinclair, who has become known as the martyr of the movement to legalize marijuana. Sinclair was sentenced to a 10-year prison term for possession of two joints in 1971, spurring John Lennon to come to Crisler Arena in December of that year to headline the “Free John Now” benefit concert.

The Michigan Supreme Court then ruled the state’s marijuana statutes were unconstitutional and Sinclair was released from prison after serving two-and-a-half years of his sentence. On April 1, 1972, the first Hash Bash took place on the Diag.

In a sign that times have changed, Sinclair held up his medical marijuana card at today’s Hash Bash and told the crowd, “I’m a patient, and that’s a first step toward dismantling the machinery on the war on drugs.”

Ann Arbor Police reported no arrests stemming from the Hash Bash as of about 3 p.m. Saturday, when traffic downtown remained heavy.

U-M officials said their public safety officers, which have jurisdiction of campus, made 12 arrests: 10 for marijuana possession and 2 for marijuana use. Another person was cited for having an open intoxicant, while numerous warnings were issued for soliciting without a permit and skateboarding, said spokesperson Diane Brown.



Tue, Apr 5, 2011 : 3:46 p.m.

One of the things I find the most stupid about pot being illegal is that anyone who knows what to say can walk into a doctor's office and walk out an hour later with a prescription for drugs that are 10 times as strong, 100 times as dangerous, and 1000 times as destructive as pot. Almost every kid who has committed mass murder at a school had SSRI's or ritalin in his bloodstream. Xanax is more addictive than heroin and much harder to kick. Nobody ever overdoses on pot, but thousands die of prescription drug overdoses every year. If big pharma ever finds a way to make big profits on pot, it will be legal faster than you can say "show me the money."


Mon, Apr 4, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.

Several videos covering Hash Bash 2011, including John Sinclair's speech, have already been uploaded to YouTube.


Mon, Apr 4, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

There should be a City Council resolution in support of Hash Bash as well as the City of Ann Arbor and the Chamber of Commerce each having a liaison to Hash Bash in the future. This event embodies the morals, values and heritage of Ann Arbor and draws persons from all over the U.S. It also brings revenues to city businesses.

Wolf's Bane

Mon, Apr 4, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

I'm straight edge and therefore don't do any drugs, except for Coffee. However, I think the hash Bash is an A2 institution and therefore should remain. In fact, why not move it to the Arb? I think it would be a more fitting place to host it and I think U of M could offer security and a clean up crew to deal with the aftermath?

Wolf's Bane

Mon, Apr 4, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

U of M can handle it... after all, they don't have to 'share the burden' of higher taxes.


Mon, Apr 4, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.

If you're willing to cut the check for all that security and the clean up crew then pony up the money Bill. No such thing as a free lunch.


Mon, Apr 4, 2011 : 4:37 a.m.

I love all these comments for... and against. I wanted to see how A2 2011 feels about this issue. I also like to see how many hypocritical bong busters from the 70s and 80s now grown up like to comment on whats fashionable for young people to they did... and say they are wrong. I am 50... and over pot for the most part... but I say to the hypocrites what the average young Joe or Jill today would say. In nicer terms lest I be censored..."To blazes with you... and stay outta my youth." Creeps.

Duane Collicott

Mon, Apr 4, 2011 : 12:21 a.m.

Brick Bash was a much better event than Hash Bash.

Duane Collicott

Mon, Apr 4, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.

No, that would be better know as Stone Bash, maybe. I remember those days. They had to be run out of town on a bus for their own protection from the rock-throwers. Brick Bash is a LEGO event.

Wolf's Bane

Mon, Apr 4, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

Is this a reference to the Neo-Nazi's marching in A2?

Dog Guy

Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 7:11 p.m.

The Hash Bash contributes to Ann Arbor's theme-park ambiance and reputation. Pot heads have a right to practice their religion.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 6:19 p.m.

Let's rename the Hash Bash the "Annual Festival of Stoned Underachievers"


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 3:23 p.m.

The young people in the photos sure looked like the future movers and shakers of the country. Ha!


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 3:19 p.m.

Hey relax-- these kid won't even feel the pain of their futures gone up in smoke. Perhaps if they're capable they'll settle for something far less than what they were destined for.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.

@americanwoman: Don't you think we should also arrest the tobacco smokers, ? (smoking causes 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S.) and we should certainly put drinkers in jail, that substance leads to 4 per cent of deaths everywhere, obviously those drugs are much more dangerous. My own mother smoked marijuana in the 40's living in New York which lead her down into a deep appreciation of Jazz. Her addiction to Jazz had a profound effect on me. I find myself listening to all sorts of weird music now. Where will it end? Your solution over simplifies this issue. If Marijuana were legal, it could be controlled and taxed. As it is, unscrupulous marketeers are lacing the product with harmful additives, cutting in dangerous fillers and recruiting people to do their dirty work. I think the solution is much more complicated than throwing them all in jail.

Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

perhashs anecdopelly, food service MAXS OUT this weekend exseeding -any- other day by a factor of about 1.5 over the bongest football day ever. i hvae friends in the furnit...., err, food service budness.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

Yeah, the war on drugs is kind of a waste, and it hasn't been handled well. Weed is not as dangerous as the authorities have always said, it's probably not as debilitating as alcohol. I don't think weed is harmless, though, all you have to do is see the losers that make up most of the hash bash crowd.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 9:02 a.m.

It seriously makes me sick to see (what I perceive) how 'young' people are going to such extremes trying to make this 'illegal' drug legal for NO apparent reason but JUST......when I sit here wishing it was legal for me to consume, to ease some of my pain! I refuse to use it because of the 'what if's'. I watch my 3 sons grow before my eyes wishing I could do the things I should be able to do with them considering I am only 34 and CAN"T!! If you are not in it for the right reasons I wish you would go back to the dark corner from which you came, please. Your hurting us NOT helping us.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

Its inevitable that I will die in pain. But I will not allow that pain to rob me of enjoying my children! How can I teach my children to obey the law when I think daily of breaking it? How can I teach them that illegal drugs are bad but, not believe it myself? Societies thoughts on drugs (in my eyes) are comparable to most forms of prejudice.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

what if you die in pain and don't enjoy your children?


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 3:15 a.m.

i hope the participants identified in the pictures accompanying this article are arrested and charged. i find it wholly unacceptable and irresponsible from the U and the city that hash bash still is allowed to happen. medical marijuana is one thing. this is just about getting stoned. i would love to hear why the U and the city still allow this.


Mon, Apr 4, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

Because the permit is to TALK about marijuana for an hour on the Diag, can't ban that. Nobody has permission to smoke marijuana on the Diag, and several arrests were made. As for finding the people in the video... while the U does go by the state law the people the arrest will still be going to an Ann Arbor courtroom. So they'll get a slap on the wrist. Taking the time and effort to identify the people in the videos, submit the warrants and actually try them would be a lot of effort for... what? The prosecutor would probably deny the charges, and even if they didn't the result would invariably be a slap on the wrist, would that make you happy? The U did try to stop Hash Bash, they were sued and lost. Since it happens on UofM property the city has no say in it. That's why the U and the city still allow it, they have no choice.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 5:08 p.m.

Your argument: I find freedom to assemble and freedom of speech intolerable. The city should ignore the constitution.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 8:45 a.m.

WhyCan'tWeBeFriends..... Insurance companies are stupid.. I'm sure its A LOT more cost efficient growing cannabis in a field than it is trying to chemically produce a insufficient pain medication in a lab.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 8:14 a.m.

You know, maybe it's to do with quality of life, freedom to congregate, and pursuit of happiness. Who says someone needs to be diagnosed as ill before they deserve to get a psychological lift? I have yet to see a study that says those on valium, zoloft (I've heard that can make people absolutely giddy), or prozac are happier and more well-adjusted than those who sometimes partake of the illegal substance cannabis. The reasons must be political. Make it legal and tax it like heck. Our national deficit would be gone in no time. Bet the crime rate would go down too.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 2:41 a.m.

Your "poll" has 2 yes answers, 3 maybe answers and one no. Is that balanced? So left it's falling off the stool.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 2:43 a.m.

I mean, 2 maybe


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 2:37 a.m.

Crazy, crazy, crazy!!! First they want to make smoking illegal but they don't do a thing about a bunch of pot heads breaking the law on our own city streets. Please, A2 police, mayor, city council make this hash bash illegal, and arrest the pot heads.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 8:38 p.m.

Your argument: I find freedom to assemble and freedom of speech intolerable. The city should ignore the constitution. . . .

Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

of course you can differentiate between nicotine and thc ... oh, wiat ... nevermind.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 12:28 p.m.

WhyCan'tWeBeFriends I don't particularly care one way or the other. But you let the reason most people use slip! "I'll bet that number far exceeds the simpler solution of losing one's cares in some cannabis."


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 8:08 a.m.

Then make it edibles only. How many people walking around every day are on some legally prescribed mood-enhancing drug, covered by insurance no less? I'll bet that number far exceeds the simpler solution of losing one's cares in some cannabis.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 2:27 a.m.

Glad I didn't make the mistake of going into Ann Arbor today, and getting caught in " stoners unite day " I'll bet the cupcake shops were busy....


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 1:48 a.m.

I could care less for the pseudo-intellectualism of the event, but Hash Bash Saturday is annually Ann Arbor's WORST-DRESSED day of the year. I saw alot of fashion disasters out there today, people. Alot of really nasty shorts-and-dirty-t-shirt-couture. I'm just happy that most of these people who come to Hash Bash don't actually live here and keep their horrible dress and fashion downriver where it belongs.


Mon, Apr 4, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.

I think you mean you couldn't care less.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 1:01 a.m.

It's insane that people are fighting so hard for an addicting substance that destroys peoples lives. Medical marijuana is one thing, but I'm guessing those fighting for it have never cared for a dying patient wasting away in pain and anorexia. These people are making fools of themselves.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 8:05 a.m.

@joe.blow, You are contradicting yourself. If it helps people who have no other alternative, then where is the problem? Morphine is addictive but do you want your wasting loved one deprived of that in the end days? If marijuana fuels appetite and spirits, go for it. You do know that chemo can kill a patient in the attempt to kill the cancer, right? Yet that is legal. Our laws are really messed up and too many people have too little information.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 5:40 a.m.

Addicting? Please offer your source for such lies or your research that shows this fact. You wont be able to because it is not addictive at all. In fact nicotine, caffeine , and vicodin are all legal drugs that are actually PHYSICALLY addictive. Again,, don;t let facts get in the way of a good lie.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 2:49 a.m.

Richard, what fight? You already get it for a medical reason. I agree, Hemp should be legal, the only reason it's not is because the cotton growers don't want to lose there market share. Marijuana on the other hand is a dissociative hallucinogen and is carcinogenic. It should remain illegal. If I were your doctor, I would not be treating your glaucoma with a dangerous substance, a nice simple B-blocker eye drop would be much more safe.

Richard P Steeb

Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 1:58 a.m.

The prohibition of Earth's most beneficial plant species is what's insane. This Ann Arbor native has enjoyed Cannabis daily since 1968, at which time my asthma miraculously "subsided". Unfortunately it took a glaucoma diagnosis in California ten years ago to cure my stigma of Cannabis criminality"... We aren't fighting for any "substance"; we are fighting for our unalienable rights. We shall NEVER capitulate.

John B.

Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 1:15 a.m.

How so? Please be specific.

Use Logic

Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 11:34 p.m.

I can't help but chuckle at how Republicans were vilified at the beginning of the article, then it's mentioned that a keynote speaker was a former Republican governor. Let's not forget that the Medical Marihuana Act was passed in 2004 - a big Republican year - by a landslide. Love the Tea Party or hate them, most stand for decriminalization of marijuana.

Jake C

Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 1:06 a.m.

Vilified? No need to exaggerate, that quote just mentions two people -- Michigan's current governor and Attorney General, who have gone on record to oppose the legalization of marijuana (but who will hopefully support the laws on medical marijuana). Neither of whom have any ties to the Tea Party. If the Tea Party supports legalization (and there was no "Tea Party" in 2004) then it will mean a big schism between the official Republican positions of strong anti-drug laws, and the Tea Party position of more personal freedoms and less government intrusion into personal business. Will be interesting to see where that leads in 2012!

Christian Vative

Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 11:18 p.m.

Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. None of us would want our child thrown in jail with the sexual predators for using a little marijuana. None of us would want to see our parent's home confiscated and sold by the police for growing a couple of marijuana plants to ease the aches and pains of growing older. It's time to stop putting our own families in jail. It's time to let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 8:35 a.m.

I personally would choose to live next to some family who grew weed in there basement than some pedophiles getting a second with my kids!!! WEED is NOTHING!!!


Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 11:12 p.m.

What a wonderful celebration to substance abuse. I wonder how many of the celebrants got their weed from their local medicinal marajuana clinic.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

I am sorry about your sister. In her case, I have no problem giving marijuana to a person with a dire medical condition in order to improve the quality of thier life. I met a healthy male in his mid 20's in California last summer who admitted his "back problem" was a fraud just so he could get medicinal marijuana.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 7:57 a.m.

I wish my sister, who is on chemo and has been for nearly two years, would accept marijuana. She has no appetite, has lost enormous amounts of weight, and vomits nearly daily from stomach upset. Would pot help her? Almost surely. But given it is illegal and she has three young teenagers, she won't do it. Is it good for them to see her suffer, day in and day out? I think their teen years would be better with a mother who looks and feels more normal, particularly if they ultimately lose her.


Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 10:30 p.m.

Hash Bash sure is not liked it was about 36 years ago. In the high school days when we skipped school from Pioneer you could go down and really party. And sing the favorit song.... Roll, roll, roll the joint, pass it down the line...............ect high school days were the days for hash bash 1975

Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 1:40 p.m.

ummm, excuse me John B. at 9:16 PM on April 2, 2011, but "...and as they say, if you remember the '70s, you weren't there...." that's the 60zzzzzzzzz. the 70s tamed out a bit.

John B.

Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 1:16 a.m.

...and as they say, if you remember the '70s, you weren't there....

Jake C

Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 12:47 a.m.

Yes, everything was truly better when each of us was in high school.

Marshall Applewhite

Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 9:57 p.m.

I walked around at the hash bash today, and had a good time doing so. It sure brings some odd looking people to town, though.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 10:07 p.m.

I think I was there too....but i can't remember for sure.

C. S. Gass

Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 9:45 p.m.

"U-M officials said their public safety officers, which have jurisdiction of campus, made 12 arrests: 10 for marijuana possession and 2 for marijuana use. Another person was cited for having an open intoxicant, while numerous warnings were issued for soliciting without a permit and skateboarding, said spokesperson Diane Brown." Perhaps what is more instructive is what WASN'T cause for arrests: Fights, assaults, disorderly conduct... If pot is so bad for society, why then was this not an MMA match in the street? I'm glad to see that U of M PD was out wasting it's time, again. And to think I actually supported creating a PD on campus long ago, over the objections of all the radical rock throwers. It's official, I'm against it now. You don't need police on campus, especially if this is the kind of useless enforcement efforts they engage in. Good job guys, you just lost my support. Our drug laws are criminally wrong and evil. They will be overturned sometime in the future. My only problem with that is that the people who wrote them in the first place cannot be prosecuted for violating the constitutional rights of millions. It says even before the Bill of Rights, "pursuit of happiness" in the US Constitution. If my pursuit of happiness involves a bud and a bong, and hurts no one but me, then how dare anyone prevent me from it?

Eli Vandis

Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.

@ joe.blow Please do not spread misinformation. Your claim of increased lung cancer is simply false; educate yourself. Or, if you feel you can support your claims with sources, please do so. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 7:48 a.m.

@joe.blow - Marijuana users are unlikely to be motivated to drive a vehicle. They are much more likely to laugh, raid the cupboards, order take-out, have s*x, forget the anxieties of the day, and/or fall asleep. It's the alcohol users who get behind the wheel, get angry, do violent crimes, and potentially die of numerous diseases related to alcohol, and alcohol is legal! If you want to talk disease and can only talk lung cancer, well, radon can cause that in the most 'sober' in our population. It's a start, but I'll need more. I am not a medical expert, and I am not a user either.


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 5:37 a.m.

joe.blow, It is already illegal to drive while impaired in the same way that it is illegal to drive impaired under the influence of alcohol (an illegal substance). Even though studies have shown a person under the influence of THC does better than one under the influence of alcohol. The idea that marijuana is more dangerous than cigarettes is a lie based on comparing EQUAL usage rates. Most do not smoke as many joints as they would cigarettes. The other variable, is that marijuana can easily be taken in ways that do not touch the lungs. I will gladly so not smoking pot in a public place, but allow brownies, lollipops or ganja ice cream


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 1:04 a.m.

Pot leads to impaired driving and it causes lung cancer to a greater degree than cigarettes. Shouldn't that be enough of a reason to outlaw it?


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 12:07 a.m.

There is an opportunity to make it happen. Rebecca Warren and others may propose to revise or repeal the law that allows Universities to have their own police. Send them messages of support for the idea.

Jojo B

Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

I don't care if marijuana is legalized, but don't forget the Michigan smoking ban and the upcoming University of Michigan smoking ban. I don't care what you smoke at home, but I don't want to have to breathe in anybody's smoke when I'm walking around in supposedly fresh air. I'm curious what Hash Bash will be like next year after UM policy goes into place? Will people get slaps on the wrist for simply smoking on university property, regardless of what leaves are burning?


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 8:21 a.m.

The TRUE users of medical marijuana are not the ones openly using in public!!! Ignorance is bliss.

Jake C

Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 12:45 a.m.

You're kidding, right? People won't get arrested or kicked off campus at any higher (pun intended) of a rate than they are now. &quot;No Smoking on Campus&quot; is basically a PR stunt, hoping for a small but cumulative effect from peer pressure, mostly directed towards staff members who take smoke breaks outside their building every hour. Don't expect anything to change dramatically in terms of random people smoking any substance while walking across the Diag.

David Briegel

Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

40 years of the insane failure that is the war on drugs. Millions of lives destroyed. Billions and Billions of dollars wasted in this futile effort. This was about as large a crowd as ever. 46% of the population is in favor of legalizing including a former 2 term Republican Gov and a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and yet from the posts right here in enlightened Ann Arbor, there are still far too many people afflicted by Reefer Madness. Every year I am heartened by the progress yet disheartened by how far we have yet to go. Legalize NOW!

Eli Vandis

Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

@ Happy Fun Ball: What silly questions you ask. Are you even serious? You reveal your ignorance by equating cannabis with the drugs you've mentioned. Want a starting point as to where to draw the line? Let's start with the fact that, unlike the drugs you've mentioned, an individual is unable to reach a level of toxicity due to cannabis consumption – no one has ever overdosed from cannabis. The same cannot even be said for coffee. You've introduced apples into a discussion about oranges – it's a non sequitur.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

do we legalize for 10 year olds too? If not, why not? Do we legalize for Crack? Why not? Heroine ? PCP? Angle dust? Meth? Why or why not? Where do you draw the line?


Sun, Apr 3, 2011 : 12:55 p.m.

Well, David I almost never agree with you on anything, but I do have to agree with you on this