Marijuana activists marched from West 31st Street to Union Square Park on Saturday, celebrating cannabis culture and rallying for an end to criminalization. Once at the park, Global Marijuana March founder Dana Beal and former High Times associate publisher Rick Cusick took to the stage and regaled the crowd with stories of how far the movement has come. Since Beal thinks Hillary Clinton will be elected in the fall and not Bernie Sanders, whose posters made an appearance at the event, he urged attendees to make “a movement in the streets” and ensure their progress doesn’t go to pot (in a bad way).
Jack Cole, a retired New Jersey State Police lieutenant who founded Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, reminded the crowd of how many petty pot-related arrests are made every year, and NORML legislative director Doug Greene urged attendees to educate themselves on who their political representatives are, push for the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act to be passed, and not just make it “another day to get high in the park.” Because cannabis and culture are like “soup and a sandwich,” said Cusick, the many speeches were separated by music, poetry and dance performances.
Despite the presence of police and a few religiously-devout detractors, attendees smoked, danced, shared stories of how medical marijuana had saved their own life or the life of a loved one, and cheered for “a mostly marijuana world.”