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Dozens of activists — including comedian Tommy Chong, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and State Representative Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) — spoke out about the various merits of marijuana at the 44th Annual Hash Bash in Ann Arbor Saturday.
Jim Powers told the large, smoky crowd gathered at the University of Michigan’s Diag how cannabis oil has helped heal his 6-year-old son, Ryan, who was an autoimmune disease.
But Powers is not happy about the hazy implementation of the medical marijuana law.
“The state of Michigan has failed my family,” he added.
The crowd heard other personal stories from folks like 18-year-old Alyssa Erwin, who says cannabis oil has rid her body of cancer not once, but twice.
She was diagnosed with brain cancer at 14. She did chemo, but it made her sick, she said. Then she started taking cannabis oil.
“(It) saved my life,” she said. “I told my parents: no more chemo.”
Doctors at the University of Michigan Health System eventually pronounced her cancer free.
But then it came back last July worse than before. Erwin got cannabis oil back in her system and now doctors say she’s 75 percent cancer-free.
“By law, I’m taking a medicine that is saving my life but is still illegal,” she said. “We need these laws to change.”
Veteran Dakota Serna said marijuana has helped him recover from the horrors of war.
“I watched some good people die, I saw some bad people die,” he said, adding that smoking marijuana has helped bring him back from some dark mental places.
In addition to the personal stories of people helped by pot, politicians and members of various pro-marijuana organizations addressed the crowd.
Irwin said he is drafting a bill to introduce into the state legislature that would legalize marijuana in Michigan much like it has in other states.
“It’s going to be Colorado improved in the Great Lakes state,” he said.
Bernero said he is in favor of seeing the laws changed.
“It is a shame that in the year 2015 pot is still politically polarizing,” he said. “A lot of people are still afraid to embrace legalization. I’m proud to say my thinking has evolved.”
Chong was clearly the crowd favorite. He joked he’s been to hash bashes throughout the years all over the country – even if he doesn’t remember being at some of them.
“I really have one message for the government of …Read More

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – Comedian Tommy Chong and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero are among those expected to address the crowd at an annual pro-marijuana rally at the University of Michigan.
“Hash Bash” organizers say Chong, famous as half of the duo “Cheech and Chong,” is headlining the 44th annual event on April 4.
Bernero’s office on Friday confirmed the mayor’s planned appearance. Organizers say a county sheriff, cancer survivors, veterans and advocates from across the state also are expected to speak at the Diag, the main pedestrian walkway through Central Campus in Ann Arbor.
A statewide marijuana legalization ballot initiative is planned for 2016 that aims to allow residents to cultivate their own plants and allow other uses of the drug. Representatives of the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee are to speak.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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