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During the first year of legal weed, Hash Bash is partying like it’s 1972

The 1970s were an era marked by bohemian wardrobes, protest marches, and groovy disco music. Leaning into this flair, Ann Arbor held its first annual pro-cannabis rally known as Hash Bash in 1972.

This Saturday will be the 48th anniversary of that first event. And it will be the first Hash Bash since Michigan voters legalized recreational marijuana at the polls in November. 

Chuck Ream is a longtime cannabis advocate and one of the attendees at the very first Hash Bash, as well as many others throughout the past 48 years. He joins Stateside to talk about the history of the event, and how attitudes toward marijuana have changed over the years. 

close up picture of Chuch Ream's vest with various pro-marijuana pins
Credit April Van Buren / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
A few of Ream's many marijuana-themed pins. The one that reads "$5 is fine with me" is from the first Hash Bash in 1972.

Ream says that he remembers that first Hash Bash as a day of freedom. Organizers took advantage of a Michigan Supreme Court ruling that struck down state marijuana statutes as unconstitutional.

"They had sort of accidentally gotten into a situation where they had no marijuana law at the time, and we could have sort of a free gathering." 

Reflecting back, Ream says he would have predicted the legalization of marijuana to happen considerably sooner than 2019. Now that it is legal to partake, Ream thinks this Saturday's Hash Bash will be an atmosphere of "absolute celebration." 

Hash Bash will take place tomorrow, April 6, beginning at "high noon" on the University of Michigan Diag. 

This post was written by Stateside production assistant Katie Raymond. 

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