“You can be a cannaterian and be down with us to help put paint where it ain’t.”
The New York City Cannabis Parade & Rally took place this past weekend (5/7) rain or shine, and honey did it rain. The shower was symbolic of the cleansing needed in the industry, a call passionately put forth by the National Cannabis Party.
Normally on the day of the annual Cannabis Parade, you won’t miss stoners with signs walking along Broadway, toking, chanting, and shouting out in the streets about the necessity for cannabis reformation. The weekend’s murky weather ruined that, and instead, participants met up at Union Square, gathered around a podium, signs soaking wet. The message remained the same: We need people who understand cannabis in positions of power. After all, it is the policymakers, legislators, and law who decide what we can and can’t do with this plant we all love so much. Too often, Black and brown people learn the harsh consequences of not following the rules. It’s high time everyone joined together to fight that injustice.
Enter: The National Cannabis Party, the first national political party dedicated to the cannabis plant. The grassroots party’s members brought a fire to the damp weather, starting with a powerful leading message from rapper and cannabis activist, Redman.
“I’m not here for the profit but the purpose of the cannabis industry,” he says adding,
You can be a cannaterian and be down with us to help put paint where it ain’t. And what we’re about is giving the plant back to the people, we’re here to tap into these politicians that promise to do something about the cannabis industry, and then when they get into office, they don’t do shit so we want to start holding people accountable.
The party isn’t only about expungement and plant education. Redman reassures that since they’re approved by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), “we can actually challenge the government [on] why they have a patent on a plant that’s supposed to be free,” among other pressures. That patent he’s referring to is US Patent NO. 6,630,507, according to the party’s site. The American Invents Act gives the patent office too much power over the post-grant review process.
Redman’s sister and President of the NCP, Sephida Artis-Mills also stepped up to the mic starting, “regardless of how people use cannabis, it is medicine.” Artis-Mills also mentioned the detrimental effects of the War on Drugs, reiterating “its time to hold these [elected officials] accountable.”
New York City Public Advocate and Governor candidate Jumaane Williams was also in attendance, co-signing the NCP’s message. He stated true reform is “a matter of public safety.” He also vowed that change is top of mind on his political agenda.
The artist also known as Funk Doc (still Redman) wrapped up his remarks with a warning to people that pharmaceutical chains are already plotting on the industry, so now more than over canna-lovers must band together to fight policy. (Seriously, imagine buying Sour Deisel at CVS. Disgusting.)
The NYCCPR is an annual event that began as a “smoke-in” at Washington Square Park and transformed into several people coming from neighboring states to advocate for change in outdated cannabis laws. Other speakers included Chris Alexander from the Office of Cannabis Management, Steve Deangelo of the Justus Foundation, and a special performance by Chenae Bullock of the Shinnecock Nation.