So the 37th Annual Hash Bash has come and gone. Hash Bash, of course, is the annual "protest gathering" for those pushing to legalize marijuana. It’s a political thing, you see. While the wife and I generally try to avoid the downtown area on Bash Day, we always take the opportunity to people watch as we drive by the various grocery stores around town. You know…fun games like…count the tie-dyes…or who’s got the most brownie mixes…that sort of thing.

There was some controversy this year, as a student group, Focus, had already reserved the Diag, the traditional location of the Bash, which left the hashers without a location. However, the two groups did reach an agreement and one hour’s time was given to the hasher’s before they all headed off to the Monroe Street Fair, or Hash Bash Part Two.

The reason the Bash is split into two events is due to the rather interesting nature of Ann Arbor marijuana law. Possession and use is not considered a criminal offense, but merely a civil infraction with a fine scale of $25/$50/$100. However, the University of Michigan Diag is considered state property, so users on campus are subject to the much stricter state laws. Therefore, the political event is held on campus, and then the group adjourns to a neighboring off-campus street for a party. Go figure.

An amusing off-shoot of this is that if one happens to be strolling downtown during the bash, you will notice that there is a large group of people standing across the street from the diag (just off-campus) puffing what I’m sure are just regular cigarettes throughout the duration of the event. Also, the number of times one is asked for spare change to "help out someone down on his luck" tends to increase about four-fold for the duration of the event….but that, I’m sure, is just coincidence.