The Ann Arbor Hash Bash is held annually on the first Saturday of April at high noon on the Diag of the University of Michigan campus. It’s the world’s oldest pot rally featuring speeches, live music, street vending and stoned merriment.

The first Hash Bash was held in 1972. I attended my first in 1975 while attending U of M as a graduate student. Back then the university was considered the drug capital of colleges. In fact, the fine for possession of less than two ounces of pot was a $5 desk appearance ticket – that’s all! (Now it’s $25.) 

I remember strolling over to the rally with a classmate. We were without pot and hoped to score something. I was a teaching assistant at the time and fortune smiled upon us. I ran into one of my students. (Where else could a teacher beg a student for weed but the Hash Bash?)

I asked if I could buy a joint. He said, “No, but I’ll smoke one with you.”

This was not an ordinary joint. The campus was just seeing the influx of Colombian Gold, marijuana that was positively orange, and Mexican pot, the only buds available for years, was now a second choice. It was a windy day and we went through the joint in mere seconds. I thanked my student and headed back to classes, not sure if were high.

We were mistaken. This was classic “creeper reefer,” weed that sneaked up on you and sledgehammered your consciousness. The rest of the day was a haze.

Last year I returned to the Hash Bash, this time as an editor with HIGH TIMES. It’s still a smokefest, but there is a hardcore activist vibe to the event with fiery speeches given at the Diag and the annual Monroe Street Fair, where thousands gather to hear music and activist leaders.

Get yourself to Ann Arbor on April 5th for another historic Hash Bash!