New Yorkers, Elected Officials, and Social Justice Advocates Call For Global Cannabis Legalization With Parade Down Broadway and Rally in Union Square Park




Troy Smit - Director, NYC Cannabis Parade

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New Yorkers, Elected Officials, and Social Justice Advocates Call For Global Cannabis Legalization With Parade Down Broadway and Rally in Union Square Park

NEW YORK, NY, APRIL 29, 2015 – The NYC Cannabis Parade announces today that on Saturday May 2, social justice advocates and hundreds of New Yorkers will march down Broadway to Union Square to demand the legalization of cannabis as a means of reducing hostile police-community interactions, ending mass incarceration, helping sick people, creating economic opportunities, providing a less dangerous alternative to opiates, stimulants, and alcohol, and protecting the environment. The parade will be followed by a rally and concert in Union Square Park featuring elected officials, community leaders, national organizations and entertainment.

“New York City is on the edge of a cannabis explosion,” said Noah Potter, a director of the NYC Cannabis Parade. “There is a widespread understanding that New York’s new ‘medicinal cannabis’ law that passed year was dead-on-arrival, awareness of the role of prohibition in criminalizing people of color is growing, local entrepreneurs and professionals are preparing for the Green Rush’s full impact on the metro area, a new young pro-legalization activist movement is continuously organizing throughout the City and the City Council has endorsed full legalization. We’re just waiting for the spark.”

Parade assembly will begin at West 31st Street and Broadway at 11 AM. At 12:30 the parade will step off led by Dana Beal, founder of the Global Marijuana March movement and Jack A. Cole, retired New Jersey State Police Lieutenant and founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). They will be joined by a multi-generational mix of organizations and individuals who believe in ending the injustice of arresting and imprisoning cannabis users, access to the medicinal uses of cannabis, and the critical need to legalize cannabis in New York City, stopping the damage that is caused by the failed war on drugs. Contingents include Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) , the New York State Green Party, Empire State NORML, Ayotzinapa NY, ACT-UP, and the National Lawyers Guild. At 1 PM the parade will arrive in Union Square Park and the rally will commence in the South Plaza, ending at 5 PM.

Speakers at Union Square include City Council Member Jumaane Williams and City Council Member Rafael L Espinal; LEAP Executive Director Lieutenant Jack A. Cole; Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Executive Director Betty Aldworth; Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) Legislative and Organizing Coordinator Jeronimo Saldana; Harlem activist Joseph “Jazz” Hayden; Green Party Candidate James Lane; Ayotzinapa NY member Jaime Gonzalez; Libertarian Party Candidate John Clifton; Global Marijuana March founder Dana Beal; Empire State NORML Legislative Director Doug Greene; NORML Women’s Alliance Regional Coordinator Laura Notini; Occupy Weed Street; Stop Mass Incarceration representative Carl Dix; with M.C. Rick Cusick, Associate Publisher of High Times Magazine and board member of NORML. Musical acts include Treach of Naughty by Nature, Keith Murray, Sadat X of Brand Nubian, and Lord Digga. The event is sponsored by Amsterdam-based Sensi Seeds.

“The time is now,” said Troy Smit, Empire State NORML Communications Director and a director of the NYC Cannabis Parade. “With New York City established as the cannabis arrest capital of the world and the upcoming United Nations Special Session in 2016 to address drugs (UNGASS) next 4/20, it is more important than ever for the city to organize and demonstrate against senseless policies that criminalize otherwise law-abiding citizens.”


The NYC Cannabis Parade is an annual Manhattan tradition dating from the early 1970s that takes place on the first Saturday in May, and the NYC event for the Global Marijuana March.  The event celebrates the cannabis culture that spans national, cultural and racial divisions. It is also a political event demanding an end to prohibition, which has failed to eradicate drugs from society and continues to cause more harm than cannabis itself ever could. For more information on and photos of the NYC Cannabis Parade please visit


In 1999, long time NYC cannabis activist and Yippie leader Dana Beal took the New York City parade “global”: the Global Marijuana March now takes place in approximately 300 cities around the world during the month of May to support worldwide marijuana legalization. For more on the Global Marijuana March visit