ANN ARBOR- It’s always the first Saturday in April, but that’s the only thing that stays the same about Hash Bash and the Monroe Street Fair every year. Different speakers, different organizers and different weather conditions always factor in to make the annual celebrations of marijuana culture a new experience every time.
This year’s Hash Bash saw a slightly smaller crowd than last year, as weather threatened to turn a celebration of peace and love into a typical Michigan Saturday afternoon in April. The temperature and the clouds cooperated during the Monroe Street Fair, with many onlookers commenting that it was the largest attendance the Fair had ever seen.
The Monroe Street Fair is ten years strong and the organizers are seasoned veterans of the Festival game. This year featured a live radio broadcast by the Political Twist-Up Show that was simulcast on AM radio in the Flint and Grand Rapids markets. The steadfast volunteers from Michigan NORML are always a welcome addition to the Fair; the performances by Lil’ Wyte, Chief Greenbud and Dan Diamond were heard by thousands in the streets and in the University of Michigan Law School buildings.
The featured speakers brought a national flavor to Hash Bash as the emphasis moved away from patient stories and local heroes to a more politically-based structure. Speakers Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project, Keith Stroup from NORML, California cannabis growing guru Ed Rosenthal and cannabis geneticist D.J. Short were all given special attention on the speaker’s list and in promotions.
This year marks the second and the last year (we hope) of Hash Bash parties without longtime organizer Adam Brook; he is incarcerated. 2013 will hopefully be the last time we have Hash Bash without John Sinclair, too. Although admitting he does not attend every Bash he specifically singled out this year’s event as a must-miss.
In the Michigan magazine MMM Report, in which Sinclair writes a column, he let his disappointment with the Hash Bash organizers be known. Sinclair wrote that he annually flies in from Amsterdam at his own expense to attend the Bash, but in the absence of Brook, “… control of the event was taken over by a group of Ann Arbor medical marijuana activists whose first major change was to pay a wealthy big-time dispensary owner from California to come in as the key-note speaker at last year’s Hash Bash. This cheesed me off and made me rethink my voluntary committment to the event.”
Sinclair concludes, “In Ann Arbor I was never even offered a night’s lodging, let alone airfare or payment.” He reported that he would be attending the Creole Pig festival in Grand Rapids on that day instead; the organizers were willing to provide a gig, a hotel room, an honorarium and transportation costs.
The dispensary owner Sinclair refers to is Steven DeAngelo, who appeared during the first year of Brook’s absence from Hash Bash. Ironically, the last year of Brook’s reign was 2011, when the keynote speaker was former New Mexico governor and candidate for President Gary Johnson.
Source: The Compassion Chronicles