Attorney General Nessel to speak at 50th anniversary Ann Arbor Hash Bash

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

The Ann Arbor Hash Bash, celebrating all things cannabis, will return in-person for its 50th anniversary next month with an appearance by Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Longtime marijuana advocate John Sinclair will be among the speakers April 2.

The event will be held on April 2 on the Diag at the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus which has drawn thousands of people in recent years with a lineup of speakers and musicians.

The annual event started in 1972 as a show of support for John Sinclair, a poet and activist initially sentenced to 10 years in jail for possession of two joints.

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Appearances by elected officials have become a feature of Hash Bash, but organizers said Nessel's appearance on stage will be a Bash first for a sitting attorney general. Nessel's office confirmed to The Detroit News she will be speaking at the event but declined to comment in advance on what remarks she intends to make there.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

Nessel and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer both appeared at Hash Bash in 2018 as then-candidates for office; U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell also appeared in person to speak that year.

Jamie Lowell, one of the organizers of this year's event, said: "After the pandemic forced us to move the Hash Bash to a digital format for two years, it feels good to get back to the in-person rally that the Bash is famous for. We are happy to partner with the University of Michigan's chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy on this project."

The festivities begin at high noon with the national anthem played on electric guitar by Laith Al-Saadi. Speeches are slated to end at 2 p.m. and will be followed by several hours of music provided by bands including Cosmic Knot.

The speakers lineup includes Sinclair; Michigan House Reps. Yousef Rabhi, Alex Garza and Cynthia Johnson; Mr. Hash Bash, Adam Brook; Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savitt; Executive Director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, Robin Schneider; National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Michigan's Executive Director, Rick Thompson; leaders of the Decriminalize Nature Michigan organization; Students for Sensible Drug Policy's Matthew Dargay; and attorneys Matthew Abel and Michael Komorn.

Speakers address the crowd gathered on The Diag from the steps of the Hatcher Graduate Library. There is no admission fee. There are no vendors, and there are no sales of cannabis products on the campus.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_