Tommy Chong, half of the famous marijuana-themed comedy duo Cheech and Chong, has been announced as the headline speaker at this year's Hash Bash celebration April 4 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Hash Bash is the largest protest advocating marijuana law reform in Michigan. The Bash, and its companion celebration, the Monroe Street Fair, drew an estimated 8,000 people last year.
"We are so proud to have Tommy Chong attending the Hash Bash and Monroe Street Fairs this year," said longtime Fair coordinator Charlie Strachbein, who is a principal in the BDT Smokeshop chain, the primary sponsor of Chong's appearance in Michigan.
Other notables appearing in a speaking role during Hash Bash include cultivation guru DJ Short and former Hash Bash frontman Adam Brook; nationally known Michigan advocates Rick Thompson, Jamie Lowell, and Chuck Ream; elected officials including Representative Jeff Irwin, Mayor Virg Bernero of Lansing, Ann Arbor councilperson Sabra Briere; scientist Dr. Dave Peters; lawman Sheriff Bill Federspiel of Saginaw County; attorneys Michael Komorn and Matthew Abel; patient and SSDP representatives.
Appearing on stage and addressing the crowd this year: the man who was the inspiration for the gathering that has evolved into the Hash Bash, John Sinclair himself.
"We offer a great format for local leaders and national names to speak directly to the public and address issues that are important to them," said Hash Bash's Director of Operations, Nick Zettell.
The 44th Annual Hash Bash will be celebrated on the campus of the University of Michigan, which prohibits marijuana possession and use. The Monroe Street Fair, just two blocks south of the Bash location, is in the city of Ann Arbor and cannabis is consumed openly and in volume.
Ann Arbor businesses boom every year during Hash Bash, and this year the economic benefit to the community will be doubled as the entire weekend is filled with cannabis-themed events. In addition to the Hash Bash and MSF, Leni Sinclair will be displaying her photography, and there will be a Peace Table discussion featuring Michigan's divergent pro-cannabis organizations, on Friday during the Michigan NORML Quarterly Meeting; Students for Sensible Drug Policy's Midwest Regional Conference is Sunday.
Chong may be famous for being the better-looking half of Cheech and Chong, a twosome from California that became legendary comedians, motion picture stars and recording artists, but he's received notoriety recently for a stint in federal prison and healing his prostate cancer with marijuana medicine.
With media cameras rolling, Chong announced his illness in 2011, He vowed to beat the cancer with cannabis-based medicine and in 2013 declared that he had done it. That was after Tommy Chong served a nine month federal prison sentence in 2003-2004 for Internet sales of bongs and smoking accessories.
For more information about the MiNORML Friday night event, visit: www.minorml.org
For more information about the SSDP weekend activities, visit: ssdp.org/events/2015-midwest-regional-conference/