This past week advocates and politicians from around the country descended upon New York City for their annual Cannabis Parade and Rally (NYCCPR). The NYCCPR is one of the longest-running cannabis legalization events in the world. What began as a “smoke-in” in Washington Square Park in 1973 has now evolved into a parade down Broadway, followed by a rally in Union Square Park.
This year’s event had new meaning for many of the attendees because this was the first year that cannabis is officially legal in the state of New York. Steve Bloom, the former editor of High Times and the the organizer of the event was immensely proud of the speakers who spoke this year, like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
“It was the biggest day for cannabis in New York since the MRTA passed on March 30. Senator Schumer and Attorney General Letitia James were among the many elected officials we contacted over the years to speak. A few joined us in the past. This year it was almost an embarrassment of riches with all the high-profile speakers who showed up. Of course, it took legalization to make that happen,” said Bloom.
Schumer fired up the crowd with promises to push forward legalization on the federal level and recounted how he fought for New York’s legalization.
“I joined with you and told the state to get off it’s butt and pass MRTA now. And guess what, they did. I pushed for the MRTA because I knew legalizing marijuana itself is not enough. We need investment in communities harmed by the War on Drugs, we need social equity in licensing entrepreneurs, and we need the expungement of records once and for all,” said Schumer
The event also brought out U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and New York Senators Allessandra Biaggi, Brian Benjamin and Jessica Ramos along with Assemblymen Harvey Epstein and Emily Gallagher. Also, among the speakers were longtime cannabis activists Steve DeAngelo, Leo Bridgewater, Dana Beal, and Tanya Osborne, including representatives from the Shinnecock Nation.
“The other good news was the generational change that was evident with the crowd and speakers. It was our most diverse and youngest lineup of speakers ever. Many jumped into the movement a few years ago. It didn't take long for them to experience success. This generation will hopefully take the lead in the new era of diverse and equitable ownership in cannabis, at least in New York,” added Bloom.
The Blinc Group was also in attendance to support the cause and New Yorkers and are thrilled especially now that they are headquartered in a fully legal state.
“As a cannabis company based here in New York City, this is the best possible outcome that we could ever, ever have. I mean all the social equity, all of the decriminalization that is just going to help all of the communities and all of the businesses thrive in this state,” said Arnaud Dumas de Rauly, CEO and co-founder of the Blinc Group.