Coverage


At the rally that headlined the Big Apple’s May 4 Cannabis Parade, after its march down Broadway from Midtown Manhattan, a multicultural crowd of impassioned youth filled Union Square. There, they grooved to sounds of live rap, reggae and funk, as activists chimed in between sets to fight for cannabis legalization. None of this was surprising to longtime followers of the annual freak-fest, held in the city for more than a generation. What made the difference this year is that one of those pro-cannabis activists on the stage was none other than New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

May 8, 2019

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The NYC Cannabis Parade began as a "smoke-in" in Washington Square Park in 1973. It's evolved to become much bigger, and it's important as the country moves closer to widespread legalization. The 2019 outing had a rainy start and a sparse presence, but the subsequent rally was a packed gathering of elected officials, industry experts and activists with their handmade signs, shirts, buttons and blunts. 

May 7, 2019

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As the state legislature considers the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act—the last hope for cannabis legalization this year since it was left out of the state budget—the Cannabis Parade serves as a reminder of how far the movement has come.

May 6, 2019

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A massive cloud of smoke appeared over the crowd as the High and Mighty Brass Band took the stage. Attendees were as diverse as strains of weed that were there: old hippies, crust punks and industry folk all mingled, but mainly people were just excited to smoke weed in front of the cops and not have to worry about retribution.

May 6, 2019

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Dozens of New Yorkers attended the Cannabis Parade and Rally at Union Square Park on May 4. The Youth International Party, also known as Yippies, started the event in 1973 as a "Smoke-In" where they passed around joints in Tompkins Square Park. It has now evolved into an event where elected officials and organization leaders speak out about the drug war and marijuana prohibition.

May 29, 2019

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New York City's recently elected Public Advocate Jumaane Williams was among the many speakers and performers at the NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally on May 4 in Union Square Park. In his highly anticipated speech, Williams opened with the words of Peter Tosh, repeating "Legalize it!"

"In fact, marijuana has been legal in some places for a very long time," he went on. "They tried to decriminalize it. It didn't work. It's time for bold legalization of marijuana."

May 4, 2019

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The rally started around 1pm, after the parade of activists marched into the park holding a large, inflatable joint that read: “Tax Don’t Jail, Deschedule Cannabis Now!” Despite the morning mist, the sun appeared just in time, which felt like a metaphor of sorts, as if the heavens were shining a light of approval from above.

May 16, 2019

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“I don't know whether you heard this or not, but I want to legalize cannabis in New York state,” said Cynthia Nixon on Saturday at the NYC Cannabis Parade. The crowd cheered for the candidate who is challenging Governor Andrew Cuomo.

In an interview after her speech, Cynthia Nixon explained that she has made cannabis a central part of her campaign because it touches on so many other issues. “Now that cannabis is exploding as an industry, we have to make sure that those communities that have been harmed and devastated by marijuana arrests get the first shot at this industry,” she said. “We [must] prioritize them in terms of licenses. It's a form of reparations.”

May 8, 2018

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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. The Global Marijuana March was 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 taking place in hundreds of cities around the world on the first Saturday of every May since 1999.

October 26, 2017

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March organizer Dana Beal said the parade is a tradition that dates back to the 1970s and New York should take its cue from other states where marijuana is now legal.

“It’s legal in a lot of places, which means that there is more support for it. We want to replace alcohol and cigarettes with marijuana. It’s much safer. Nobody ever dies from pot. There is a stereotype of marijuana smokers as stoners, as boneheads, nothing upstairs, but look at what people are like on alcohol.”

May 6, 2017

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Some would say the fact that the NYPD did not seem interested in arresting anyone who was getting high at the event was a major shift in and of itself. Although the NYPD cut its marijuana arrests in half last year, 16,590 people were still cuffed for low-level marijuana possession, about 88% of whom were black or Latino.

May 8, 2016

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"The New York City Cannabis Parade is the flagship events for the Million Marijuana March in the United States. Actually, the Cannabis Parade began as an act of resistance. Marchers were fed up with the racist police crackdown on minor marijuana possession and use charges and wanted to take back the streets for cannabis."

May 1, 2016

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Hundreds gathered in Union Square on Saturday, May 2 to watch artists, singers, and DJs perform, but the revelers weren’t just there for the music, they were rallying for a higher cause – marijuana.

At the NYC Cannabis Parade, politicians and activists spoke of lobbying local and state government leaders to support pro-marijuana legislation. Demonstrators showed their support through their clothes and costumes and by distributing flyers that described the merits of recreational and medical pot use. Others took a more literal approach, which created a haze that hung over the park for most of the afternoon.

May 3, 2015

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Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in New York City’s Union Square on Saturday to call for the legalization of marijuana in New York State.

NYC Cannabis Parade organizer Troy Smit told NBC News the annual event, first held in 2012, aims to “end the war on drugs, release the medicine, free the prisoners, heal the sick, and unite the nations.”

May 2, 2015

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