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September 05, 2006 - Image 70

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-05

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6F - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition 2006

Not such high times for A2

CATNKOER/aiy
Jon Lozer, a senior at Pickney Community High School, gets stuck at the
bottom of the steep pit of the Law Library at this year's Hash Bash.

By Drew Philp
Daily Staff Reporter
Aging hippies carrying signs of peace joined
dreadlocked teenagers on the Diag April 2 to
celebrate cannabis culture and protest marijuana
laws in Ann Arbor's 35th annual Hash Bash.
Despite a low student turnout at the rally,
Hash Bash turned out at least as many mari-
juana supporters as last year, which saw about
900 in attendance.
In years past, Hash Bash drew thousands of
people to Ann Arbor to gather in the aromatic,
smoke-filled Diag. Recent protests carried over
to celebrations on Monroe Street, this year
included.
Organizers and longtime bash attendees
noted that Hash Bash has fizzled and changed
face over the past few years.
"The crowd has been getting older every
year;' said Bob Brown, who graduated from the
University in 1970 and has attended every Hash
Bash since then except one. "There were a lot
more students back in the '70s."
As a man wearing an oversized cowboy hat
and large star-shaped glasses played background
music on an accordion, Josh Soper, director of
the University's chapter of the National Orga-
nization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws,
explained why students were largely absent
from the rally.
"I think the students don't come because it's

been dominated by people from out of town
- older people, non-students - and it kind of
has that image," he said. "I think if we did more
advertising on campus it would help, but it's
hard to get people to flyer."
Sporting floor-length dreadlocks and tech-
nicolor pants, a man who called himself Chef
RA had a different take on why Hash Bash
attendance has dwindled and why less students
attend.
"The times have been more conservative in
recent years," said Chef RA, who is a chem-
ist for the prominent cannabis magazine High
Times. "People are afraid of being associated
with an event like this because they feel it is
going to be detrimental to their job or they will
be arrested by the heavy police presence."
Event organizer Adam Brooks warned people
of smoking on the Diag because of the heavier
fines on University property and the heightened
police presence.
At one point, he asked the crowd to sit sud-
denly to expose the police patrolling among the
peaceful protestors, which they did.
Brooks explained that University crackdowns
and an increased police presence since the dep-
utizing of the Department of Public Safety have
prevented Hash Bash from continuing to be a
"smoke in." Student organizations must register
for a permit to hold the bash because the event
is held on University property.
Supporters of marijuana law reform turned

up at the rally to show opposition to what they
claim are strict laws.
Kathy Kennedy, 56, said she is partially
opposed to laws because of racial implications.
The first pot laws, she said, "were enacted in
El Paso, Texas, mainly because they wanted to
persecute non-white populations - to perse-
cute Hispanics."
After the rally, protestors marched to Mon-
roe Street to continue the festivities.
The atmosphere of Monroe Street was more
relaxed than the heavily policed Diag, with
people passing joints and smoking small pipes
openly. Groundscore, a band based in Holly,
entertained the eclectic crowd with funky-feel-
ing, jam-band-style music while smokers wear-
ing ponchos and leis made of pot leaves danced
and mingled with the old and young revelers.
Amid street vendors selling everything from
colorful glass pipes to handmade Hash Bash
stickers, Engineering freshman Fej Brandt
pulled out his brand-new pipe and lit up in the
middle of the street.
"It's like 'Shakedown Street' at a concert,"
he said, comparing the atmosphere to a busy
avenue at a music festival. "Everyone just kind
of bumming around and a little vending. You
can pick up whatever."
He added that Hash Bash is "one of the things
that made coming (to the University) sweet."
- This article originally ran Apr. 3, 2006.

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