ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – Organizers are expecting thousands of people for this year’s annual Hash Bash in Ann Arbor.

The bash started in 1971 to protest the arrest of an activist who gave marijuana to an undercover officer.

Charmie Ghoslon,  founder of Michigan Moms United to End the War on Drugs, said legalizing marijuana is a serious issue.

“The federal government raided Richard Lee, a handicapped man in a wheelchair, on Monday morning and raided his business and his home in California, while simultaneously just blocks away there was a sniper shooting and killing people at a school in Oakland. And this is one of the biggest reasons why we protest the way that we do,” said Ghoslon.

Gholson is behind a Michigan campaign to legalize marijuana. She said the event is “not about getting stoned” but rather about political change.

“I see nothing funny about hundreds of thousands of Americans being arrested and put in handcuffs every year and getting criminal records and being denied the right to vote and denied the ability to get housing and jobs, that’s not funny to me. I don’t do giggly stoner jokes at all,” said Gholson.

The attendance at the annual gathering has been growing over the years, thanks in part to the passage of the medical marijuana act in Michigan.

“What the medical marijuana act did for us, it wasn’t only drug policy reform that we enacted, but it’s given people who were not recreational marijuana users the ability to see the benefits of marijuana. So, we have this new population of people who are supportive of changing these laws because they see first hand the benefits of using marijuana… The people are way ahead of the politicians on this issue, way ahead,” said Gholson.

The bash runs from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the University of Michigan Diag on Saturday.

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