Gov. Andrew Cuomo's main challenger in the September gubernatorial primary, Cynthia Nixon, was the main attraction at New York's famous Cannabis Parade & Rally on May 5. Nixon told the large crowd:
"I want to legalize cannabis in New York State. I want to do it first and foremost because it's a racial justice issue. If you are black or Latino you are 10 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than if you're white and that's not right. That's not what we believe in New York. And it's not what we should believe in the United States of America. It will follow you for the rest of your life, that arrest. It will make it harder for you to get a job. It will be it harder for you to get a place to live. And if you are undocumented it will put you in the crosshairs for deportation and we don't believe in that in New York State. Arresting people, especially people of color, for cannabis is the crown jewel in the racist War on Drugs and we must pluck it down. We must expunge peoples' records, we must get them out of prison. When I am governor and we legalize cannabis here we will be sure to prioritize those communities of color for the licenses to sell cannabis. That's one of the reasons I'm running for governor, including better schools, more affordable housing and fixing our subways. If you believe in these things, I want you to go to CynthiaforNewYork.com. I want you to donate, I want you to volunteer and most of all I want you to vote on September 13. This year with Donald Trump in the White House, we don't just need to elect more Democrats, we need to elect better Democrats, and that is why I am running for governor."
Ever since announcing her candidacy in March, Nixon has pounded Cuomo on the marijuana issue, claiming that New York is way behind the national curve:
"In 2018, in a blue state like New York, marijuana shouldn’t even be an issue. If there was more political courage coming out of Albany we would have done this a long time ago.”
For more about Cynthia and cannabis, go here.
The NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally began at 31 St. and Broadway at 11 am. As marchers and contingents assembled, speeches were given by State Sen. Jesse Hamilton and City Council Members Jumaane Williams and Donovan Richards. The march took off at 12:30 pm and headed south on Broadway to Union Square Park at 14 St. where the Rally there kicked off at 1 pm and ran until 5 pm. Nixon spoke at 2:40 pm
Other speakers and performers included Manhattan Assembly Member Richard Gottfried; City Council Member Rafael Espinal; Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU); Joel Giambra, former County Executive for Erie County in Western New York and currently seeking the Reform Party’s nomination for Governor; Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels; Joy Beckerman, President of the Hemp Industry Association; and hip-hop legends Immortal Technique and Chief Rocker Busy Bee.
Global Marijuana March events took place all over the world on May 5. The NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally is the flagship event.