(NEW YORK, NY) – The Global Marijuana March (GMM)—born in New York City as the first annual pro-cannabis event and since expanded to hundreds of different cities in dozens of countries worldwide since 1999—happens here as the NYC Cannabis Parade on Saturday, May 6, 2017.
With a majority of all Americans now in favor of some form of legalized cannabis use, the NYC Cannabis Parade is an opportunity for New Yorkers to demand their voices be heard. The NYC Cannabis Parade and its supporters will gather in Midtown and walk, chant, sing and march down to Union Square for a day of activism, celebration and entertainment. The Parade assembly will begin at 11:00 a.m. at the intersection of West 31st and Broadway, with speakers and an MC, before beginning its march down Broadway towards Union Square at 12:30 p.m. The rally at Union Square’s South Plaza from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. will consist of a mix of activism, speakers, music and other entertainment.
“The national movement to legalize cannabis is continuing the fight against prohibitionist forces inside and outside the federal government,” says parade co-organizer Noah Potter. “The NYC Cannabis Parade is showing our elected officials that there is popular support for legalization in New York, and demanding that they affirmatively move forward legislation now pending in Albany and Washington.”
The legislation to which Potter is referring includes the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (A3506 and S3040) currently in committee in both the NYS Senate and Assembly, which creates a legal (and taxable) framework for cannabis use in New York State, and the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act (H.R.1841), introduced in the US House of Representatives earlier this year, among others.
“It is time we put a full stop to the criminalization of marijuana,” said NYC Council Member Rafael Espinal. “Small marijuana offenses disproportionately affect marginalized communities and we should be doing more at the state and city level to bring this substance under the law. States like California, Colorado, Oregon and even Washington DC have taken the lead on this issue and have only experienced positive outcomes. New York– the state of Lady Liberty, diversity and inclusion–must not punish individuals for making personal decisions, especially those which do not harm anyone or pose a danger to society.”
“As the author of the 1977 New York State law to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and the 2014 New York State law to allow the use of medical marijuana, I have long believed that the possession of marijuana for personal use should not be subject to criminal sanctions,” saysNew York State Assembly Member Richard Gottfried.
NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “States across our nation are proving with solid evidence that marijuana legalization and regulation works. New York State should learn from their experience and take steps to end policies that divert resources from core public protection needs; policies whose bite is all the more cutting due to the ills of broken windows policing. Using police time, court time, and the awesome power of our justice system against marijuana leads to arrests and records for countless people – overwhelmingly people of color – who are not violent, not dangerous, and pose no threat to the public. We must adopt a policy guided by facts and evidence – which we now have a great deal of thanks to states like Colorado. I look forward to the day that New York joins states that have passed sensible marijuana laws and adopts the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act.”
In addition to Council Member Espinal, Assembly Member Gottfried, and Senator Hamilton other featured speakers include Dana Beal, Founder, Global Marijuana March, Co-Founder, Cures Not Wars; Doug Greene, Legislative Director, Empire State NORML; Christopher Alexander, Policy Coordinator, New York, Drug Policy Alliance; Rob Robinson, Co-founder & Co-director NY Cannabis Alliance, Host, NY Harvest Fest; James Lane, Green Party candidate running for Public Advocate of NYC; Frank Sha Francois, former Green Party candidate for US Congress in NY District 5 in 2016;Aron Kay, Yippie Pie Thrower, Activist, Cancer Survivor, Medical Marijuana Patient; Kimberleigh Krepp of Capitol District Cannabis Consortium; New Jersey Activist Jo Anne Zito; Steven Hager, Former Chief Editor at High Times and Founder of the legendary Cannabis Cup; and ACTUP. The lineup of music artists and performances taking the Union Square stage can be seen at https://cannabisparade.org/lineup/.
Doug Greene, Legislative Director, Empire State NORML said, “New York State prohibited marijuana in 1927. 90 years, hundreds of thousands of arrests and one weak medical marijuana program later, we’re still prohibiting a drug that research seems to indicate substitutes for alcohol and opioids, which are far more toxic. New York needs to StartSMART to end racist marijuana law enforcement, promote health and wellness and grow our economy. This year’s Parade marks the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition in New York State.”
“We support marijuana reform because prohibition has failed,” says Alexander of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Prohibition does not serve the public good–it has improved neither public safety nor public health outcomes. Instead, marijuana prohibition has all too often been used to criminalize communities of color and our state’s most vulnerable residents. New York State should make the SMART choice: End prohibition, create a system to tax and regulate marijuana, and repair and reinvest in communities most harmed by the war on marijuana.”
The NYC Cannabis Parade is a four-decade old original New York City tradition, part of the city’s classic heritage of cutting-edge progressive movements and protest advocacy. It is perhaps the world’s longest-running outdoor public event demanding full cannabis legalization, and 20 years ago launched the Global Marijuana March, now taking place in hundreds of cities around the world on the first Saturday of every May.