NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally Is May 5th

The 47th Annual Parade starts in Midtown and marches to Union Square Park for an afternoon rally

NEW YORK: New York’s longest running annual pro-cannabis event, established by The Youth International Party (Yippies) in 1971, the NYC Cannabis Parade and Rally, returns for its 47th year on May 5.   A powerful roster 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.

They include:

• Assembly Member Richard Gottfried (State Assembly District 75, Manhattan)

• State Senator Jesse Hamilton (State Senate District 20, Brooklyn/Queens)

• Council Member Rafael F. Espinal (City Council District 37, Brooklyn)

• Council Member Donovan Richards (City Council District 31, Queens

• Council Member Jumaane Williams (City Council District 45, Brooklyn) and a candidate for New York State Lieutenant Governor

NYC Cannabis Parade is May 5

NYC Cannabis Parade is May 5

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

“Nine states and the District of Columbia have decided to legalize and regulate marijuana,” says Senator Hamilton. “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 Alongside broken windows policing, our outdated marijuana laws direct police resources, court time and the justice system’s authority at people who are not violent, not dangerous and do not pose a threat to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.”

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act is currently being considered by the New York State legislature.  “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.”

Additional speakers and performers include: 

• Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers (RWDSU)

• Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for Governor

• Joel Giambra, Former County Executive of Erie County and candidate for Governor

• Immortal Technique

• Chief Rocker Busy Bee

• Lord Digga da Highsman

• Real One

• Davey Fresh

• Ismael Levi

• 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 include Drug Policy Alliance, Women Grow NYC, Empire State NORML, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Hemp Industry Association, Patients Out of Time, Marijuana Business Association and the Green Party of New York State.  The Event sponsors are the Dutch company Sensi Seeds, and Etain Health, one of New York’s medical cannabis providers with dispensaries in Manhattan (142 E. 39 St.), Yonkers and Kingston.

2017 Outlook for Cannabis in Minnesota


By Rachelle G

MINNESOTA: Often considered one of the more liberal states in the Midwest, Minnesota is fragmented —  a sea of blue centered around the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro area surrounded by red rural areas. In terms of cannabis law, Minnesota is a bit ahead of other Midwest states but not by much. Adult recreational cannabis use remains illegal, but being caught with less than an ounce and a half will only result in a small, traffic-ticket like fine.

Medical marijuana was approved for a small list of ailments in 2014, and Minnesota’s program is considered one of the most restrictive in the country. MMJ Patients cannot smoke actual cannabis flower, but instead must vaporize oils or take capsules. Qualifying conditions include cancer, HIV/AIDS, seizure disorders, MS, glaucoma, ALS, Tourette’s syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and other terminal illness. Intractable pain and PTSD were approved as qualifying conditions in 2016; pain patients were able to join the medical marijuana program in August of that year, while PTSD patients will be able to join starting August 1st of 2017.

So what’s on deck for cannabis in Minnesota in 2017? For activists, it appears that raising awareness of drug policy issues and the right for patients to access medical cannabis are on the top of the list.

“Minnesota has a strong history of cannabis activism, but our activists are spread out among many different groups and organizations with different means to reach the same end goal,” explained Gunnar Aas, president of the Hamline University chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) in Saint Paul. “We’re devoting the majority of our efforts as a chapter towards continuing to build a coalition of activists, politicians, volunteers, and concerned citizens beyond campus to create the legislative changes necessary to bring sensible drug policies to our state.”

Aas added that the Hamline chapter is planning a trip to Portland, Oregon over spring break to attend the 2017 Students for Sensible Drug Policy Conference. “We’re excited to take the skills we develop in Oregon back home, where we can share what we learned with our peers and allies in an effort build the world we dream of.”

No new cannabis legislation is expected in 2017, and until the 2018 election brings a new chief executive to replace Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, who opposes cannabis reform, little more is expected to happen legislatively.

“We will spend most of this year training and preparing supporters for the 2018 elections, so we are organized and ready to address the question of who we would like to see elected governor,” stated Michael Ford, director of the Minnesota chapter of NORML. “The governor has been our biggest roadblock these past few years in reforming marijuana laws here in Minnesota.”

Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) introduced a bill to disallow the program head (currently Ed Ehlinger, the commissioner of health) to add qualifying conditions. Dean was vehemently opposed to legalizing medical marijuana when legislation passed, believing it’s a “slippery slope.”

Dr. Kyle Kingsley, CEO of MinnMed (one of two approved producers of medical cannabis programs), is not concerned about potential back-peddling on marijuana issues – either at the state or federal level.

“We’re really excited about what’s to come in 2017,” he explained. “Price reductions have lead to a dramatic increase in patient volume in our dispensaries, and the addition of chronic pain and PTSD was a real shot in the arm.”

Kingsley added that topicals were recently approved for medical marijuana patients, which will bring much-needed relief to those who cannot vaporizer or have issues swallowing capsules. He believes that a pragmatic approach to reform will ensure the best results.

“This is no longer a bipartisan issue. I am calling on all pragmatic members of Congress to take a look at this and find some solutions. 1 in 3 people have chronic pain of some type – it would be great to come up with practical ways for patients to gain access to this medicine.”

Cannabis And Hemp Association, NYU SSDP Host Cannabusiness Seminar 2016

NEW YORK: The Cannabis and Hemp Association (CHA) and New York University’s Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) have teamed up to present the NYU Cannabusiness Seminar 2016, a FREE exploration of New York State’s medical marijuana industry on Friday, November 18, from 7-11 p.m. at the NYU’s Global Center for Academic and Student Life at 238 Thompson Street.

Led by CHA founder and noted expert and advocate Scott Giannotti, the evening is designed for both NYU students and New Yorkers alike to learn about the current state of the cannabis industry in New York State—and what’s on the horizon. The cornerstones of the Seminar will be Giannotti’s presentation “Preparing for a Career in the Cannabis Industry and an expert-packed panel discussion of “End of Year Review: NYS Medical Cannabis,” outlining the specifics and challenges of the NYS MMJ program.

Giannotti’s presentation, which reviews entrepreneurship opportunities and careers within the scope of NYS-licensed Registered Organizations such as the growing, processing, and sale of cannabis; and barriers to entry one might face, will include the following:

  • The emergence of new skills- and knowledge-based positions like extraction tech, bud trimmer, and cannabis industry compliance
  • The even wider array of industry roles outside of “touching the flower”
  • The pros and cons of forging a cannabis career in New York vs. relocating
  • How to pursue valuable training/internships from reputable companies
  • Entrepreneur or Employee?—the best ways to make a name for yourself in the still-new cannabis industry

Confirmed panelists represent the spectrum of perspectives—from legislative to growing and retail—and will include NYS Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Master Grower Jason Cranford (Haleigh’s Hope/Flowering Hope Foundation), PharmaCannis Lobbyist Fred Polsinelli, attorney Hanan Kolko (Meyer, Suozzi, English, and Klein), and Bryan Clenahan, State Senator Diane Savino’s Chief of Staff.

“The CHA is grateful to NYU’s Students for Sensible Drug Policy for inviting us to put together this seminar for both the NYU and larger community of canna-conscious New Yorkers,” says Giannotti. “We find there remains a huge demand for education on the NYS program and the business opportunities within it, and teaming up with SSDP gives us the chance to reach a larger audience”

Doors open at 7:00 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

Freedom Leaf Goes Dutch: Licenses Brand To The Netherlands

NEVADA: Freedom Leaf  is going Dutch. The publicly traded cannabis media company has entered into an exclusive license with a Netherlands-based concern for use the Freedom Leaf Brand, including the right to publish Freedom Leaf Magazine in Dutch in the Netherlands.

According to a company press release, Freedom Leaf, Netherlands, BV will also distribute branded products and services and will identify emerging opportunities to bring under the Freedom Leaf umbrella in the US and the Netherlands.

Mr. Mario Louis Sylvester Lap is the Managing Director of Freedom Leaf, Netherlands, BV. Mr. Lap is a graduate from Open Universiteit Nederland, BS, Law and currently has affiliations with the following organizations: Drugtext Foundation, Foundation on Drug Policy and Human Rights & MLS LAP BV, RJM and MJR Holding Companies.

Freedom Leaf co-founder and 45 year Marijuana Legalization Activist Richard C. Cowan said of his relationship, “I have known Mario Lap for over twenty years, and there is no one in Europe who knows the drug reform world better than Mario.”

Freedom Leaf, Inc. has drawn interest from potential overseas licensees seeking access to its brand, its editorial content, ability to put on events, along with premium products and services under its banner. “We’re a magnet to attract mergers and acquisitions, incubation of new companies and spinoffs,” said Cliff PerryCEO of Freedom Leaf, Inc. “Our news, media, entertainment platforms and other properties raise awareness for investors and seed more potential deals.”

Freedom Leaf is in talks to license its brand, products and services in three additional European countries. “The negotiations continue to be very positive,” Perry said. “We’re in discussions with two additional companies in what promises to be a meaningful endeavor to speed our growth.” The license will allow licensees to market and publish Freedom Leaf Magazine in their countries, while offering website advertising, products, business and consulting services, seminars, musical festivals and other branded products and services.

“The finalization of these International contracts will substantially benefit Freedom Leaf, Inc.’s shareholders through revenue and an overseas footprint,” Perry said.

With its flagship publication, Freedom Leaf’s presence has been felt nationally as it eyes more success while approaching the milestone of one million copies in circulation by 2017. Teaming up with NORMLssdpWomenGrow, and MJBA and with hundreds of thousands of activist marketers spreading “The Good News in Marijuana Reform™,” Freedom Leaf taps into the emerging industry’s cutting edge information, innovation and legislation around cannabis, medical marijuana and industrial hemp, as well as the latest arts, fashion, financial and lifestyle trends.