Hash Bash is an annual event held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the first Saturday of April at high noon on the University of Michigan Diag. A collection of speeches, live music, street vending and occasional civil disobedience are centered on the 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 Michigan Supreme Court declaring 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. Chef Ra was a fixture of the Hash Bash for 19 consecutive years before his death in late 2006.
The penalty for cannabis law violations in the City of Ann Arbor is a $30 fine and $25 court costs for a total of $55, and is a civil infraction ticket (see Cannabis laws in Ann Arbor, Michigan). However, the University of Michigan police arrest and charge cannabis violations under Michigan's more punitive state law anywhere on University property, including the Diag. When the court adjudicates minor cannabis possession and use complaints from University of Michigan police, the fine is the same as under City law: $50. 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 and Hash Bash graphic apparel, along with a Michigan NORML booth.
The second annual Hash Bash, in 1973, attracted approximately 3,000 participants. That year, state representative Perry Bullard, a proponent of marijuana legalization, attended and smoked marijuana, an act which later earned him criticism from political opponents.
Hash Bash participants did not encounter significant police interference until the seventh annual event, in 1978, when local police booked, cited, photographed, and released those participants alleged to be using illegal substances.
The 2009 Hash Bash on April 4 celebrated 'medical' marijuana's victory in Michigan and was the largest gathering that the event has seen in years, with an estimated 1600 participants – an increased turnout which the Michigan Daily attributed to the "wider acceptance of recreational drug use both on campus and across the country."
The 2010 Hash Bash on April 3 had an estimated 5000 attendees.
The 2011 Hash Bash on April 2 had an estimated 6000-6500 attendees.
Recent and upcoming Hash Bash dates
- 2015: 44th annual - April 4
- 2014: 43rd annual - April 5
- 2013: 42nd annual - April 6
- 2012: 41st annual - April 7
- 2011: 40th annual - April 2
- 2010: 39th annual - April 3
- 2009: 38th annual - April 4
- 2008: 37th annual - April 5
- 2007: 36th annual - April 7
- 2006: 35th annual - April 1
- 2005: 34th annual - April 2
- 2004: 33rd annual - April 3
- 2003: 32nd annual - December 31