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Thoughts from Hash Bash 2014

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A haze of marijuana smoke wafts from a crowd gathered to listen to speeches at the 43rd annual Hash Bash, a rally to legalize use of pot.

A haze of marijuana smoke wafts from a crowd gathered to listen to speeches at the 43rd annual Hash Bash, a rally to legalize use of pot.

Editor’s note: The founders of The Ann and photo editor Benjamin Weatherston attended this year’s Hash Bash on April 5.

Hash-Bash-Peace-PonchoThe first Hash Bash was held in 1972, and it’s been held every year since on the the first Saturday of April on the University of Michigan Diag. The crowd this year was estimated at about 4,000.

The point is to reform marijuana laws, which are, in a word, confusing. Marijuana use is considered a civil infraction by the city of Ann Arbor, which sets the fines at $25 for the first conviction, $50 for the second and $100 for the third or subsequent convictions.

Hash-Bash---Heart-Hands-HippieBut it’s not that simple. Federal and state laws are much tougher. Under federal law, marijuana is still considered a Class I drug, along with heroin and LSD.

The state of Michigan holds that marijuana possession is “a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year or a fine of not more than $2,000, or both.” And the University of Michigan enforces the state — not the city — law.

Until the gray is cleared up, it seems the Hash Bash will rank high on Ann Arbor’s calendar for years.

Sources: Ann Arbor City Charter, Section 16.2 Michigan Public Health Code, Section 333.7403 Legal Information Institute

Hash-Bash---Cops

Kyle Poplin

Kyle Poplin is co-founder and editor of The Ann magazine.

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