It was a cold rainy Saturday May 4 in NYC as the 49th annual NYC Cannabis Parade and Rally began its roster of speakers before heading from Herald Square to Union Square Park. Emcee Leo Bridgewater encouraged the crowd, many under umbrellas, to embrace the chant “What do we want? JUSTICE. When do we want it ? NOW, as speakers addressed the social injustice issues that have plagued the marijuana industry.
As the parade began, the skies opened again, but, as the marchers, escorted by NYC’s finest, felt nothing as they focused on the mission at hand – drawing attention to the fight for Cannabis legalization in NYC and NJ. And, yet, as if karma, upon arrival at Union Square, the clouds disappeared, the sun came out and the rally kicked off in front of a crowd that easily topped 5000.
The crowd was addressed by a number of speakers, including local NYC officials like recently-elected New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried (District 75, Manhattan) as well as Cannabis industry leaders like Joy Beckerman, Michael O’Malley of Curved Papers and others.
The musical lineup featured some amazing performances from Clip Payne’s 420 Funk Mob (including members of Parliament-Funkadelic), Brooklyn’s High & Mighty Brass Band, the CCB Reggae All Stars (formerly the High Times Cannabis Cup Band), rappers Cambatta and SCRIBE the Verbalist, and the East Village’s SoulCake.
The NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally’s coalition partners included Empire State NORML, Women Grow NYC, Drug Policy Project, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Cannabis Cultural Association, Start SMART New York, New Jersey Cannabusiness Association, High NY, Revel, LatinoJustice, Hemp Industry Association, Patients Out of Time, Marijuana Business Association, Green Party of New York State, A Rebel Minded Society, Freedom Leaf, Honeysuckle, Infuzes and Good Deed Entertainment.
The Event sponsors are Dutch company Sensi Seeds; Etain Health, one of New York’s medical cannabis providers with dispensaries in Manhattan (142 E. 39 St.), Yonkers and Kingston; hemp supplier Tonic; grow-box manufacturer SunBud Solutions; CannaGather; Presto Doctor; Curved Papers; and TribeTokes.
The day ended with a massive 420 smoke out at 4:20; it was a very successful event.