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Hash Bash Coming To The University Of Michigan's Diag On Saturday


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With their usual shouts of “Free the weed!” beneath hand-painted banners and leafy green flags, marijuana users and their pals by the thousands are set to gather Saturday in Ann Arbor for the 47th annual Hash Bash — a quirky combination of stoner silliness, political activism and open marijuana smoking that’s held smack in the middle of a college campus.

The University of Michigan takes pains to say it does not endorse the event — but can’t prevent it. The spring rite of speeches, live music and cannabis consumption lands always on the first Saturday of April at the U-M Diag, a plaza of diagonal sidewalks specially reserved for controversial free speech.

 

With nationwide sentiment growing apace to legalize marijuana, or at least to make possessing it a non-criminal infraction, this year’s Hash Bash will last four hours — twice as long as last year, organizer Mark Passerini said.

“It’s absolutely bigger and better than ever,” said Passerini, co-founder of Om of Medicine, a medical marijuana shop in Ann Arbor.

After two hours of speeches, Passerini said, “it’ll be music for the last two hours, just to relieve the crowds at the Monroe Street Fair,” the annual post-Bash gathering that has outgrown its space like, well, a happy weed.

 

At each Hash Bash, campus police traditionally remind the crowd that smoking marijuana is illegal, then ring the group, although they do so at a distance, smiling and chatting with onlookers, and typically arrest only those who flaunt the sale or use of pot.

Saturday’s weather forecast is sunny and mild, so there could be a record crowd.

The previous mark was an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people, set in 2015 when comedian and stoner film star Tommy Chong flew in from California.

A special guest this year? Former Detroit Red Wing Darren McCarty, who's a strong proponent of medical marijuana, Passerini said. McCarty is to take part in a forum on cannabis use by pro athletes along with   former NFL star Eugene Monroe and NFL free agent Todd Herremans.

The forum is at 2 p.m. Sunday at Rackham Amphitheatre, 915 E. Washington.

Saturday’s speakers are to include Detroit lawyer Matt Abel, as well as volunteers from around Michigan who’ve said they’ll soon re-launch their previous efforts to put a legalization question on statewide ballots in 2018. Others to speak are a father and his young son from Michigan Parents for Compassion; nurse and hospice manager Cathleen Graham of Grand Rapids; and John Sinclair, the gray-haired poet and lifelong political activist who some say started it all.

Sinclair had his 10-year prison sentence for marijuana possession overturned in 1971 after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Michigan’s marijuana laws were unconstitutional. That news triggered the spontaneous occurrence of Hash Bash No. 1 on April 1, 1972, igniting rebellious fervor within a short and some said glorious window when Michigan had no law against marijuana on the books, according to previous Free Press reports.

Since then, the success of marijuana activism has unnerved those on the front lines of fighting drug abuse, said Bethany Sanford, a community organizer with SUDDS Coalition. The group, based in Allen Park and Southgate, aims to keep youths from abusing alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs in 13 communities south of Detroit, Sanford said.

Despite the epidemics of heroin and opioid pill abuse, "right now, we’re focusing on marijuana,” she said.

The reason is that pot has become too widely accepted, both as a recreation and as medicine, and because new state laws will offer a hard choice to communities next year — whether to allow businesses that grow, process or sell medical marijuana, Sanford said. People need to be educated about the risks of using the drug and the risks of having such businesses in their midst, she said.

Yet, to state Rep. Yousef Rabhi, the larger risk is keeping outdated drug laws.

Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor, was invited to speak at the Hash Bash and he said he will bring up the nation’s overloaded prisons. That issue unites both left and right, with liberals seeking lighter penalties for marijuana crimes while conservatives push to lower the prison spending that keeps hordes of Americans, currently about 2.2 million, behind bars.

Rabhi also said he'll touch on race.

“What we’ve seen is that the war on drugs became a war on people of color,” Rabhi said.

Marijuana could mean more jobs and tax dollars for Michigan, “but there needs to be a conversation about the guidelines of what safe usage looks like, and what operating vehicles safely looks like. We need to move past the stigma,” Rabhi said.

Other politicians scheduled to speak are state Sen. Coleman Young II, D-Detroit, and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

Adam Brook of Royal Oak was emcee of the event from 1993 to 2011, and Brook said this week he will be there again to grab the Hash Bash bullhorn and rouse the crowd.

“It’s about we the people” and thumbing one’s nose at misguided authority, Brook said. But, hey, isn’t it also about kicking back in spring sunshine and just letting loose?

You bet, he said, adding: “I expect to smoke a joint on the Diag, just like I do every year.”

 

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/03/30/hash-bash-ann-arbor/99806788/

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The coalition has released draft language for a ballot proposal it hopes to put before voters in November 2018 to legalize marijuana for people 21 and older and tax it

 

at the wholesale level, in addition to state sales tax, and give people convicted of non-violent marijuana crimes a path to clear their records.

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The coalition has released draft language for a ballot proposal it hopes to put before voters in November 2018 to legalize marijuana for people 21 and older and tax it

 

at the wholesale level, in addition to state sales tax, and give people convicted of non-violent marijuana crimes a path to clear their records.

 

Any idea when they will start collecting signatures?

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i think they are aiming for end of april to finish the language?

 

 

Yes i also think that the date will be March MPP

 

 MI legalize ? i have been called by them to start about the same time not sure what is going to happen if both run at the same time because i also signed up to do the MPP one 

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mpp language has some bunny muffin in it.

 

milegalize might split with them.

 

which i think would be huge mistake. seeing as how milegalize couldnt even make the ballot last time in an election year.

 

i figure let mpp try in 2018, they might fail because no one comes out in midterm elections.

 

then milegalize save money for 2020 and go again.

 

yeah it sucks but running 2 signature campaigns in 2018 is as stupid as running 3 (milegalize, abrogate, mcc) in 2016 and all 3 failed.

 

get on the ballot, get passed, protect the people, then figure out any little problems later.

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sure.

 

most of the bad language deals with the business side. which doesnt matter to 99% of people.

 

the bad moneyed business side that wont affect you bob.

 

so , yes, i'd rather legalize it as soon as possible and prevent at least most of the 20,000 arrests for marijuana each year in michigan. then deal or fix any problems with the marijuana business language later.

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what it comes down to is the big money funding the mpp side vs the little guys funding the milegalize side.

 

the little guys want some of the pie and the big guys want monopolies.

 

in the end, i dont give a bunny muffin about the business side. although if it were legal it would be nice to run a business. but i'm not the one writing million dollar checks either.

 

one of the milegalize guys said he didnt like legislation being bought and paid for. i'm sorry to say thats like 90% of legislation today , in all state and federal legislatures. sure it sucks, but dying on this hill of marijuana legalization isnt the right hill to fix the system.

 

legalize marijuana, keep people and patients from going to jail. change gerrymandered districts, get mail voting for all so we dont have to stand in line for hours to vote. these are things we can do to make things better.

Edited by bax
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further , i find it funny that there are people who wouldnt vote for this mpp legalization because its not true legalization like tomatoes, ala abrogate.

 

but some of those same people would vote for hillary clinton over a 3rd party candidate.

 

lesser of two evils in the president , but not ballot initiatives eh?

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further , i find it funny that there are people who wouldnt vote for this mpp legalization because its not true legalization like tomatoes, ala abrogate.

 

but some of those same people would vote for hillary clinton over a 3rd party candidate.

 

lesser of two evils in the president , but not ballot initiatives eh?

I thought we voted for Bernie? Must have been a dream ....

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It doesn't matter what MPP or Milegalize want for the most part.  We will get what our Legislature allows in the end.

 

It was easy to defend sick people in Lansing.  Legalization will be a whole different ballgame. They will get what they want.

 

To say MPP is big guy and Milegalize is little guy is a bit disingenuous as well.  They are both looking out for their best interests,... I mean moneyed donors. ;-p It isn't like Milegalize isn't almost solely funded by a multi-millionaire and dispensary interests, and it isn't like the Milegalize board hasn't drafted self interested language for themselves. As far as MPP, the percentage of grassroots small donation money is much larger than the small donations to Milegalize, based on total percentage of money collected per year.  So you could actually say MPP is way more grassroots than milegalize. :-)

 

I would say MPP's has a better chance of passing(people act like it is a guarantee; fools... utter fools). I don't think people realize the multimillions of dollars coming to Michigan to fight against legalization.

 

And even if Milegalizes get passed, it will get gutted in horrible ways, and the way it is drafted it will be unfortunately overly easy to destroy by the legislature.

 

If Milegalize continues to compete against MPP we may all be fukd for legalization in 2018. 

 

I am going with the MPP Coalition myself. I am going to support a group with a winning record,... not a group with a record of only massive failures.

 

Zealotry, egotism, irrationality and unreasonableness will not win the day.  

 

Common sense middle of the road is what wins the day.

 

The fight begins the day we pass this law. This is the easy part people.

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