On Saturday, May 6, 2023, the Big Apple will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the New York City Cannabis Parade and Rally (NYCCPR). One of the longest-running cannabis legalization events in the world, NYCCPR has become a forum to honor social change. This year, Union Square Park will be alight with an incredible array of speakers, musical performances, and plant enthusiasts to cement this moment as one for the history books.
What's The NYC Cannabis Parade And Rally? Where Does It Take Place?
First conceived in 1973 as a “smoke-in” organized by the counterculture group The Yippies, the NYC Cannabis Parade and Rally takes a timeless route from Greeley Square down to Union Square. At 11AM on May 6th, contingents begin to assemble on the east side of Broadway between 32nd and 33rd Streets, while speakers welcome the crowd. By 12:30PM, participants will begin marching southbound on Broadway down to Union Square Park, where they will be greeted by event sponsors, community members, and notable industry legends.
Speakers / Performers At The 2023 NYC Cannabis Parade And Rally: Shiest Bubz, dead prez, Fab 5 Freddy And More
Artist/producer and cannabis mogul Shiest Bubz, co-founder of historic lifestyle brand The Smoker’s Club, will be this year’s Grand Marshal of the Parade. Actress and comedienne Black Rose (West Side Story, In The Heights) is the 2023 Parade Ambassador. The performance lineup includes M1 and Umi from the iconic hip hop group dead prez, Ghetto Metal Entertainment’s Bazaar Royale, and Baba Israel, creator of the Off-Broadway sensation Cannabis! A Viper Vaudeville. A deck stacked full of amazing speakers features Manhattan Deputy Borough President Keisha Sutton-James, hip hop pioneer and filmmaker Fab 5 Freddy (Grass Is Greener), New York State’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) Executive Director Chris Alexander, Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright, Imani Dawson, President of TCC Media and Board Member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Pilar DeJesus of CannaBronx and All That Jive NYC, and more.
Cannabis NYC's Lift Off! The City Supports The NYC Cannabis Parade And Rally
Dasheeda Dawson, Founding Director of Cannabis NYC, says this year’s celebration marks the first time in 50 years that the City is “giving a lift to [the event], supporting the restoration of the event to its pre-pandemic size, and adding elements of the Cannabis NYC interagency hub in development to support the legal cannabis industry.” As the NYC Department of Small Business Services’ initiative to connect New Yorkers to the emerging legal cannabis space, Cannabis NYC plays a vital role in engaging the community. Throughout the spring, the agency has been conducting its Lift Off! listening and learning tour to provide residents of the five boroughs with education, information, and accessibility to opportunities to get involved in the cannabis industry. Now the NYC Cannabis Parade is officially an event on the Lift Off! tour, and Dawson couldn’t be prouder.
"Cannabis NYC is on a mission to build an inclusive, equitable, and safe industry in New York City, and strong community engagement with priority outreach to historically marginalized communities will be a foundation of our success,” Dawson notes. “We are proud to be partnering with NYCCPR for the first time, during a seminal moment in the city’s cannabis history. Our community partnerships and ongoing interagency collaboration ensure we can strategically capitalize on the restorative justice and economic development opportunities of a legalized market."
Pioneering cannabis journalist Steve Bloom, founder of CelebStoner and Board Member of NYCCPR, comments, “This is a big year for the Parade and Rally. With legalization finally happening in New York, it’s time for us to pivot to more of a celebration. We’re very excited to be working with Dasheeda and Cannabis NYC."
"NYC is planting the seeds to grow a safe and equitable cannabis industry," states Commissioner Sideya Sherman, NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity. "We are excited to join Cannabis NYC and NYCCPR to celebrate this important milestone and spread awareness about opportunities on the horizon. Together we will ensure the economic benefits of this dynamic industry are shared by all."
Who Are The NYC Cannabis Parade And Rally's Event Partners? (And Where's The After-Party?)
Honeysuckle is proud to be a media partner for NYCCPR’s golden anniversary, alongside other event sponsors and partners including Cannabis NYC and the City’s Department of Small Business Services, the Office of Cannabis Management, Weedmaps, Union Square Travel Agency, PAX, Etain Health, CWCBExpo, Women Grow, THC NYC, The CannaDiva Collective, TCC Media, Prince Lobel Tye LLP, Curved Papers, Smoke and Heroes Podcast, and CelebStoner.
A Moment In History
Paul F. Yau, CEO of Union Square Travel Agency, is thrilled that one of the city’s first state-licensed dispensaries can be part of such an historic event. “Union Square Travel Agency: A Cannabis Store is proud to participate in and support the 50th anniversary of the NYC Cannabis Parade and Rally,” he affirms. “"What better evidence of the impact the parade has had on the city’s culture than seeing the NYC Department of Small Business Services and Mayor Eric Adams' administration embrace our community and what we represent. Congrats to Cannabis NYC and all involved."
OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander reminds everyone that the momentous occasion also shows us what more we can do for our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer the fallout from the War on Drugs. "It’s an honor to return to New York City’s Cannabis Parade and Rally to celebrate the longest running cannabis legalization advocacy event in the world,” he remarks. “So much has changed over the last 50 years, much of it over the last decade as I’ve been attending this march and speaking as an advocate. Legalization was once a dream. I am proud to have been a small part of making it possible for this year’s participants to not only legally consume cannabis but to be able to legally purchase safer cannabis from licensed adult-use dispensaries for the first time. There is still so much work to do globally to repair the harm that has been done by cannabis prohibition, but New York will continue the hard work of setting the example of what an equitable cannabis market can look like."
The NYC Cannabis Parade and Rally happens Saturday, May 6, 2023 - parade marchers gather at 11AM in Greeley Square; rally lineup begins 1PM in Union Square Park. For more information, visit cannabisparade.org.
Featured image: (C) NYC Cannabis Parade and Rally