The New York City Cannabis Parade & Rally (NYCCPR) is among the longest running marijuana legalization events in the world. What began as a “Smoke-In” in Washington Square Park organized by the Yippies in 1973 has evolved into a two-part Event: A Parade down Broadway and a Rally in Union Square Park, all on the first Saturday in May. Sister events take place in more than 300 cities worldwide on the same day. NYCCPR is the founding chapter of the Global Marijuana March.
The event’s mission is to end the prohibition of cannabis at all levels – international, federal, state and local. Ten states have legalized marijuana since 2012. New York and New Jersey are both on paths to legalization. Thirty-three states allow access to medical marijuana, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. By June, perhaps New York will pass legislation.
These factors make this year’s Parade & Rally all the more important. New York has come a long way from when 50,000 residents were being arrested a year for marijuana possession. Arrests are down and policy has changed since last year. Now the goal is complete legalization, with a fair and equitable commercial marketplace, like in California and Massachusetts. We’re close but not there yet. Join us this year for the NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally and be part of the solution.
There are two components to the Event: The Parade and the Rally.
The Parade assembles in midtown Manhattan, usually at 32 St. and Broadway. There’s an opening “speak-out” at 11 a.m. by activists, elected officials and other political figures. The parade leaves at 12:30 p.m. The 2018 parade included more than 1,000 participants with numerous activist contingents as well as one from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
The Rally takes place in Union Square Park at 14 St., between University Place and Fourth Ave. It begins at 1 pm when the Parade arrives at the Park. The Rally features a wide variety of prominent speakers – elected officials, activists and industry leaders – and musical entertainment by world-class performers, such as Redman and Immortal Technique. The speeches build to the 4:20 countdown and the Rally continues with music until the program ends at 5pm sharp.
Last year, Cynthia Nixon was among the many political candidates who addressed the crowd. At the time, Nixon and several other speakers were running for governor. Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, who worked tirelessly to pass New York’s medical cannabis law, spoke at the Rally for the second year in a row, as did the city’s recently-elected Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (then a Council Member) and Council Members Donovan Richards and Rafael Espinal.
Reform organization and sponsors set up booths and tables opposite the stage in front of the George Washington statue.
Please note: Final details are subject to change by NYPD and New York City Parks Department.