Hash Bash is an event that takes place annually in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is held on the traditional site of many fundraisers, concerts, and activist events: a large open green near the center of the University of Michigan’s campus, called the Diag.
As of 2019, the Hash Bash festival is in its 48th year. Held on the first Saturday in April, the event is comprised of live music, speeches, and other events. Hash Bash is centered on the long-term goal of reforming federal, state, and local marijuana laws.
The first Hash Bash was held on Saturday, April 1, 1972 in response to the March 9th 1972 decision by the Michigan Supreme Court that declared unconstitutional the law used to convict cultural activist John Sinclair for possession of two marijuana joints. This action left the State of Michigan without a law prohibiting the use of marijuana until after the weekend of April 1, 1972.
By the time of the second Hash Bash, in 1973, 3000 people were in attendance. Police interference in Hash Bash remained minimal until the late 1970s. When local law enforcement became more involved, attendance dropped off until the early 1980s as a result. However, popularity rebounded significantly in the mid-eighties, and Hash Bash has experienced significant growth for many consecutive years.
The 2009 Hash Bash on April 4th celebrated the Medical Marijuana victory in Michigan state and was a record-setting event in terms of attendance. As attitudes towards cannabis consumption have shifted and laws have become more tolerant, Hash Bash has experienced a decade of stratospheric growth.
Over the years, Hash Bash has been steadily climbing to some 10,000 to 15,000 annual attendees. Activists, musicians, writers and celebrities who have participated in Hash Bash include Ed Rosenthal, Virg Bernero, DJ Short, Adam Brook, Jorge Cervantes, Nicholas Zettel, Danny Danko, John Sinclair, Coleman Young II, Tommy Chong, Laith Al-Saadi, Keith Stroup and many more..
Monroe Street Fair
There is a separate but heavily related event following Hash Bash just off campus known as the Monroe Street Fair, where there is usually a live show accompanying the many street vendors selling smoking accessories, apparel, and other goods.