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BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL | Trailing a cloud of smoke, the annual New York City Cannabis Parade made its way from 24th St. to Union Square on Saturday. About 100 people gathered under sunny skies for speeches and music.
Among the speakers was mayoral candidate Sal Albanese.
“I think the time has come to legalize it,” Albanese said to cheers. “If you think the time has come to end the prohibition on marijuana, then I need your help,” he added.
“I’ve always been an advocate of legalizing marijuana,” Albanese said afterward.
“We’re wasting taxpayer money. It will also bring down stop-and-frisks. We’re criminalizing tens of thousands of people.”
Asked how a city official could affect state and federal laws, Albanese elaborated, “The mayor has a bully pulpit. Let’s tax it and put revenue toward education.”
Aron Kay, the “Yippie Pieman” was also in the crowd. Noting he was at the first marijuana smoke-in in 1973, he said, “I have not missed a pot march in New York City since.”
Phil Hollenbeck of Brooklyn stood puffing a monster-sized blunt. Asked what was in it, he laughed and said, “Sage.”
Also among the pro-cannabis crowd was political comedian and mayoral candidate Randy Credico. David Peel and The Lower East Side were among the afternoon’s musical highlights. An organizer said similar parades were taking place in 400 cities worldwide.
The march was organized by NORML, the Yippie Cafe on Bleecker St. and others.
Medical marijuana is legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Washington State has decriminalized marijuana. Last year, Colorado legalized recreational use.