Elected Officials And Industry Leaders To Speak At NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally This Saturday, May 5

In its 47th year, the Event starts in Midtown and marches to Union Square Park for an afternoon rally

NEW YORK:  New York’s longest running annual pro-cannabis event, the NYC Cannabis Parade and Rally, returns for its 47th year this Saturday, May 5.  A powerful slate of elected officials, including two state legislators and three City Council Members, will be speaking from stages in Midtown and Union Square Park throughout the day. The elected officials are:

  • NY State Senator Jesse Hamilton (State Senate District 20, Brooklyn/Queens)
  • NY Assembly Member Richard Gottfried (State Assembly District 75, Manhattan)
  • NYC Council Member Rafael F. Espinal (City Council District 37, Brooklyn)
  • NYC Council Member Jumaane Williams (City Council District 45, Brooklyn) and a candidate for New York State Lieutenant Governor
  • NYC Council Member Donovan Richards (City Council District 31, Queens)
RESIST PROHIBITION, REALIZE, LEGALIZE NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally is Saturday, May 5th

RESIST PROHIBITION, REALIZE, LEGALIZE NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally is Saturday, May 5th

The Event begins at 11 am with a pro-legalization speak-out at the assembly point at W. 31 St. and Broadway. State Sen. Hamilton and Council Member Williams will be among the speakers at W. 31 St. At 12:30 pm, the parade marches down Broadway to Union Square Park, where speakers and musicians will engage and entertain the crowd from 1-5 pm.

Additional speakers include:

  • Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels who is now using medical marijuana to treat Crohn’s disease
  • Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU)
  • Joy Beckerman, President, Hemp Industry Association (HIA)
  • Joel Giambra, Former County Executive of Erie County and candidate for Governor
  • Yasmin Hurston, President, New York Minority Alliance
  • Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for Governor
  • Tanya Osborne, NYC/Bronx Market Leader, Women Grow
  • Leo Bridgewater, President, NY/NJ chapters, Minorities for Medical Marijuana
  • Cristina Buccola, Esq., member, New York Cannabis Bar Association
  • Justin Strekal, Political Director, National NORML
  • Shira Adler, Author, The ABCs of CBD

The performers are: 

  • Immortal Technique
  • Chief Rocker Busy Bee
  • Lord Digga da Highsman
  • Real One
  • Lunar Tourists
  • Ismael Levi

• King Ras Pedro

  • Comedian Rob Cantrell

Check out the full lineup of speakers and performers here. 

The Event’s emcees are the Cannabis Cultural Association’s Jake Plowden, Nelson Guerrero, Amanda Reyes and Joseph A. Bondy.

The NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally’s Coalition Partners are: Drug Policy Alliance, Women Grow NYC, Empire State NORML, High NY, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, CannaGather, Hemp Industry Association, Patients Out of Time, Marijuana Business Association, New York Minority Alliance and the Green Party of New York State.

The Event sponsors are: Dutch company Sensi Seeds; Etain Health, one of New York’s registered medical cannabis providers with dispensaries in Manhattan (142 E. 39 St.), Yonkers and Kingston; Curved Papers; and Flower Power Coffee Co.


NY State Senator Jesse Hamilton:

“Nine states and the District of Columbia have decided to legalize and regulate marijuana. By joining these states, New York would allow law enforcement to prioritize real public protection needs. Alongside broken windows policing, our outdated marijuana laws direct police resources, court time and the justice system’s authority at people who are not violent, not dangerous and do not pose a threat to the public. We must continue to work towards the day that New York rejects the deeply flawed policies of the past, embraces sensible reform and passes the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act.”

NY State Assembly Member Richard Gottfried:

“We need to move beyond the outdated and broken marijuana prohibition model to a sensible tax-and-regulate system. But that’s only part of the solution. Even in states with legal adult marijuana use, there is still evidence of unequal law enforcement practices targeting minority communities. We must ensure that those most victimized by the criminalization of marijuana benefit from the social and political progress around the issue, including reforming criminal justice processes and ensuring widespread participation in the marijuana business boom.” 

NYC Council Member Jumaane Williams:

“We must expand out medical marijuana program to include all those who can benefit from its use,” adds Council Member Williams. “We also should rapidly move towards the full legalization of marijuana, expunge state criminal records of past users and create a pathway for all New Yorkers to benefit economically from this industry, not just a select few chosen by the Governor.” 

NYC Council Member Donovan Richards:

“It’s a weird time when New York City finds itself to the right of former House Speaker John Boehner, but unfortunately that is where we are with about 17,000 marijuana arrests in 2017. We must stop the practice of flooding our prisons with marijuana offenders and disproportionally impacting communities of color now. Marijuana is not a threat to our public safety and our youth cannot wait any longer as a one minor mistake can stick with them for the rest of their life”

Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU):

“I have no doubt that recreational marijuana will soon be legal in New York – as it should be. The criminalization of marijuana has resulted in racial and social injustice because of its disparate enforcement, and has denied its use as another tool in the war against opioid abuse. And we need to make sure that when it is legalized that workers in the industry are treated with dignity and respect, and have a union voice. The sooner marijuana is legalized the better.”

Immortal Technique:

“For the entirety of my musical career I have been a huge proponent of the decriminalization of marijuana. Since I was a young man I began to research and learn about hemp and cannabis, and especially about it’s connection to the prison industrial complex. It’s for this reason that I have continued to support the movement. The idea of transformative justice is not just to correct the laws that are on the books treating weed smokers like murderers, it’s also the need, the inescapable necessity, to deal with the convictions that have sent thousands to prison and burdened them with criminal records. I will continue to fight not only to decriminalize it, but also to battle for transformative justice because without it, all the recent change in marijuana laws become meaningless.”


The Event was founded by the Yippies (Youth International Party) in 1971. It has served as the flagship for the multi-decade mass movement for cannabis legalization and has taken place in various locations around the city over the years, including Washington Square Park, Battery Park and Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. The Event moved to Union Square Park in 2012. The mission of the Event is to promote marijuana legalization federally and specifically in the New York Metro area, end discriminatory arrest practices and the mass incarceration of citizens and improve the state’s overly restricted medical cannabis program. The NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally is the founding chapter of the Global Marijuana March, which takes place in hundreds of cities in the U.S. and around the world in May and June. For more information: cannabisparade.org