The 47th Annual “Hash Bash” was not just a festival for those that smoke cannabis to get together but it was also a lucrative criminal enterprise for the Michigan State Police Department and the City of Ann Arbor.

Every year in our state, the festival of “Hash Bash” occurs on the first week of April and with the joy of cannabis smokers coming together to celebrate their beloved plant comes an array of criminal prosecutions which adds to the city of Ann Arbor’s economic base.

Tim Jenkins, a self-described “pothead” suffered an arrest and fine during the festivities. When asked about this, Jenkins stated, “This is the third year in a row that I have been arrested after the event. While my lawyer continues to keep me out of prison, it is frustrating to have to keep dealing with legal issues when I have a Medical Marijuana Card. Even when I stay out of trouble I still pay consistent fines to the state.”

The lawyer that Jenkins referred to was Matthew McManus whom is the Founding Member of Ann Arbor Legal in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When asked about the outcome of “Hash Bash”, McManus stated, “People have to realize that in the state of Michigan, even with a Medical Marijuana Card, there is still a great risk of prosecution. When the festival of “Hash Bash” comes up, there are numerous websites that honor the event. Whether fair or not, the websites serve as a social media informant and leads the authorities to make arrests and opens the door to probable cause. The state of Michigan can make a lot of money with the abundance of arrests that occur.”

Scott Grabel of Grabel and Associates in Lansing, Michigan is a leader in criminal defense throughout the Midwest. Grabel added to the commentary of McManus by stating, “The defense of a 7411 becomes pivotal but with the legislation up in the air, we don’t know if that defense will be readily available much longer. With the cannabis contingent pushing for legalization on a recreational level, events like “Hash Bash” become a field day for the authorities. If we study the concept of marijuana, we have learned that there are many positive attributes but this will get overlooked at nationally publicized events. The best legal advice that one could provide is to attend the event but not actually smoke in public.”

McManus added, “A lot of people cross state lines to come to these events. When they do, they are not provided the same protections that the Michigan Constitution provides. Furthermore, if you are coming from a state such as Colorado, you actually lose a great deal of protection. The one thing that most people do not realize is that smoking cannabis is still illegal according to Federal law and due to this we have a major preemption issue to address.”

While the law is murky when dealing with the future of cannabis, smoking weed in a public setting is going to have the authorities arrest first and ask questions later. Even those carrying legally could be dealt with a fate of being deemed guilty before being proven innocent and that is a fate may be unconstitutional but is extremely realistic.

William Amadeo is a partner at the law firm of Ann Arbor Legal and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In addition to his legal duties, he owns and operates BAT Tutoring in Lansing, Michigan with fellow attorney Ashley Johnson and is a staff writer for “The Chronicle News” and other websites. He can be reached at:

William Amadeo is a partner at Ann Arbor Legal in Ann Arbor, Michigan and a Senior Associate at Grabel and Associates. In addition to his legal duties, Amadeo is also journalist for “The Chronicle News” and numerous other publications around the web. Amadeo also owns and operates “Bat Tutoring” in Lansing, Michigan. For more information he can be reached through his page here.

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