Cannabis News Media Awareness Project
  Activists Have High Hopes for Tomorrow's Hash Bash
Posted by CN Staff on April 02, 2004 at 07:54:31 PT
By Adhiraj Dutt, Daily Staff Reporter 
Source: Michigan Daily  

cannabis Thousands of activists hoping to achieve the goal of legalizing marijuana are set to descend on campus and the surrounding areas this weekend to protest the nation’s war on drugs. With the Federal Building on East Liberty Street serving as their backdrop, the protesters will kick off the 33rd Ann Arbor Hash Bash at 11 a.m. Saturday.

After an hour-long rally in front of the building, the activists will march to campus, converging on the Diag where they will listen to speakers including poet John Sinclair and Chef Ra, a columnist at High Times, a magazine for marijuana connoisseurs.

After one hour of speeches, Hash Bash will move to Monroe Street for a block party.

“This is the largest, most unadvertised event in America and 50,000 people will show up for an event that isn’t supported by the City Council, the Ann Arbor commerce bureau, the University and so on down the line,” long-time organizer Adam Brook said.

Beginning in 1972, Hash Bash’s popularity surged after the University took organizers to court for several years to end it. The media attention led to national exposure, Brook said.

“We do no advertising, but this time of the year I get calls from newspapers all over the country doing their stories on Hash Bash,” Brook said. “It’s a cultural phenomenon.”

Hash Bash has drawn large crowds in the past, but participation has waned recently partly due to less student involvement, increased law enforcement efforts and in some years, bad weather.

“The main problem is that they don’t get enough serious speakers and there’s a real disconnect between the student body and those who attend the event,” LSA senior Dan Sheill said. “What’s interesting is this event is put under the microscope more than any other event on campus.”

A student organization must reserve the Diag to hold an event there. Sheill was the student sponsor of Hash Bash last year as chairman of the College Libertarians, but this year it is sponsored by the University’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

“In the past, the police haven’t allowed us to have tables on the Diag, though we will this year,” Engineering sophomore and NORML Director Josh Soper said. “We are going to try to focus more on medical marijuana this year.”

Brook said after the University established the Department of Public Safety 14 years ago, police officers began dispersing Hash Bash participants from the Diag after their rally.

“In the old days, we used to spend the entire day on the Diag,” Brook said.

The University doesn’t endorse Hash Bash, but because of the huge influx of people drawn to the event, safety is among the University’s top priorities. Also, because many of the people that participate are avid marijuana users inclined to light up during Hash Bash, DPS plans to have additional officers patrolling campus, making sure marijuana users and non users obey state laws.

“The (University Board of) Regents are granted their power from the state and so we enforce state laws,” DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown said.

As a result, the penalty for smoking marijuana on campus is a $100 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail, though the penalty for abusing the drug on city property is a $25 ticket for a civil infraction. Anyone caught possessing marijuana on campus will be fined up to $2,000 and can end up behind bars for up to one year, Brown said.

However, these penalties don’t stop all marijuana fanatics from lighting up at Hash Bash, Brook said. “It’s not the smoking that gets you busted, it’s passing to your buddies,” he said. “This is a political rally and we smoke in an act of civil disobedience.”

According to Brown, there were six arrests and citations at last year’s Hash Bash and in the past five years, 198 arrests have been made at the event. Of the 198 people arrested, only two have been University students.

Still, Brook said the crowds at Hash Bash are bigger, but less rowdy than crowds that football games attract in fall. “(Hash Bash) is worse than any football Saturday and we have less arrests than a football Saturday,” he said.

Source: Michigan Daily (MI Edu)
Author: Adhiraj Dutt, Daily Staff Reporter
Published: April 02, 2004
Copyright: 2004 The Michigan Daily
Contact: daily.letters@umich.edu
Website: http://www.michigandaily.com/

Related Article & Web Site:

Hash Bash
http://www.hashbash.com/

Whims of Weather Affect Success of Hash Bash
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread18526.shtml

CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives
http://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml


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Comment #3 posted by RevHappy on April 02, 2004 at 19:27:44 PT:

Michigan Abuzz
There is much to talk about at Hash Bash too, with the Detroit Medical Marijuana Initiative on the ballot and the upcoming Michigan Marijuana Marches in Flint, Detroit, Lansing and Traverse City.

Its funny, even though I see a few throughout the day, I never did go to the Bash to smoke weed. It was the premier spot in Michigan to check the progress of our fight.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 02, 2004 at 17:16:41 PT
afterburner
I just want to say hello. It's always good to see you. I sometimes get busy and forget to say hello. Now that CNews is fixed and news is posted I can relax. We got three CDs today and we are listening to them and how refreshing it is too have cartoons on (NO NEWS) and music. We got the new deluxe edition of Easy Rider, a Steve Earle CD and Neil Young's Ragged Glory. I wish politicans knew how important it is too mentally stop thinking and enjoy life a little now and then. If they did the world would be a better place. Have a nice weekend.

Don't bogart that joint my friend is playing now! LOL!

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #1 posted by afterburner on April 02, 2004 at 15:29:30 PT:

Wish I Could Make It This Year
Civil disobedience, civil infraction. Why make a federal (or state) case of it?

"abusing the drug" -- right out of the ONDCP playbook.

Good to see John Sinclair is going to be there.

Medical Freedom Amendment for 2004: the right to self-medication shall not be infringed! "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of [medical practice], or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

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