EVG contributor Stacie Joy was in Union Square yesterday for the annual parade.
Here's more from a report today in Crain's:
Known until a few years ago as “Cures Not Wars,” and now as the NYC Cannabis Parade, New York’s annual rally in support of legalization has been held in various forms since the early 1970s. This year, the event culminated in a gathering at Union Square. As blunts and pipes were passed around, speakers attempted to educate the crowd about the Marijuana Taxation and Regulation Act (S. 1747/A. 3089A) that is currently stalled in the state legislature.
“We’ve been doing this for four decades. If we don’t get involved and do the hard work, it’s not going to go anywhere,” said Doug Greene, legislative director of Empire State NORML, the New York chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “Just coming here and listening to me speak and getting high is not going to change anything.”
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.
New York has launched a medical-marijuana program, with one of the dispensaries located nearby on East 14th Street. Dennis Levy, a lifelong marijuana legalization advocate, called the New York program "frustrating and flawed."