Michigan’s marijuana activism can largely be defined by the marijuana movement in Ann Arbor, one of the foremost movements in the country. Beginning with the first Hash Bash in April of 1972, shortly after Michigan’s felony marijuana law was declared unconstitutional, Ann Arbor became the leading city for both marijuana activism and evolving marijuana legislation. Ann Arbor became the activist model for subsequent successful marijuana campaigns across the state culminating in the 2018 statewide ballot measure that legalized recreational marijuana in a resounding victory.
In the MLive article of April 5, 2019, A History of Hash Bash and Marijuana Activism in Ann Arbor, Chuck describes the marijuana culture of the 1960s in Ann Arbor, “We were wild in the ’60s and there’s nobody left like we were in the ‘60s. People in the ‘60s did exactly what they felt was the right thing no matter what it was,” Ream said, arguing Ann Arbor doesn’t have that same “wild cannabis culture” anymore.
The seventies in Ann Arbor were tumultuous for marijuana activism. Ryan Stanton of MLive.com in his article, A History of Hash Bash and marijuana activism in Ann Arbor wrote “In May 1972, one month after the first Hash Bash, City Council took the historic step of approving one of the most liberal marijuana laws in the nation, reducing the penalty for use, possession or sale to a $5 fine, treating it similar to a traffic ticket.” Within months State police and local republicans began to voice opposition to the new $5 legislation. After a successful repeal of the legislation in July 1973 following a district judge ruling invalidating the $5 fine activists began a months long vocal campaign to have the ruling reinstated.