Boston Freedom Rally 2014 Thoughts

First and foremost, the organizers and volunteers at MassCann pulled off a virtually flawless 2 day event.

Big crowds at the 2014 Boston Freedom Rally

Big crowds at the 2014 Boston Freedom Rally

The amount of work and organizational effort it takes to pull this event off is IMMENSE. The Boston Freedom Rally is the 2nd largest annual marijuana reform rally in the country, and they’ve been doing this for 25 years. It takes hundreds of volunteers, and outstanding leadership and organization to make it run so smoothly. All the speakers and bands who volunteer their time and talents should also be commended.

The amount of pure organizational talent in MassCann is truly impressive, and will be a huge asset when it comes to getting signatures to get legalization on the ballot in Massachusetts, and getting the vote out in 2016.

This is all going to happen.

If you want to jump on the bandwagon of the WINNING team in 2016 (and you should!), become a member of MassCann – volunteer – and you can be a part of history when we finally do legalize for good here in Massachusetts.

Mounted police at the Boston Freedom Rally

Mounted police at the Boston Freedom Rally

The police were cool

It may be hard for some to believe, but it’s absolutely true. There was a $250 smoking (anything) ban in the park implemented by the city, and a marijuana citation is $100 by itself, but there are no known reports of cops writing any tickets, according to the Metro.

I saw a few rangers asking folks to put it out if it was right in their faces, but for the most part the cops stayed on the outside of the action, and no one was looking for confrontations. This is a far cry from just a few short years ago when police rolled up the wagons to arrest people and load them up with pot smokers.

So Many Great Speakers

I can’t wait until MassCann posts more of them on their youtube channel, since I missed many of them, but just a few:

4:20 on day 1 of the Boston Freedom Rally 2014

4:20 on day 1 of the Boston Freedom Rally 2014

Jake Agliata of Students for Sensible Drug Policy basically carpet bombed the crowd with a barrage of facts about marijuana and the drug war. And he was right.

Gunnar Vincens talked about how the key to legalization is talking to your Grandma, which is pretty brilliant.  Old people 1) vote, and 2) can benefit enormously from the medical benefits of cannabis, for pain, inflammation, and dozens of other ailments. So spread the word, and talk to your grandma about the benefits of marijuana.

Diane Russell, a State Representative from Maine has introduced marijuana legalization bills for the last several years. Politicians who are fearless and ahead of the curve like this are real heroes. It takes real leadership to do that. And one day very soon, a state will legalize without the people need to vote for it on a ballot. Would love to see Maine be the first.

Richard Evans: A Northampton lawyer, longtime activist, and author of many marijuana reform initiatives proposed in the Commonwealth. His optimism for future legalization is very encouraging to hear, and he has the long term perspective to back it up – we know he’s seen the dark days. While he probably knows better than me, I was a little surprising to hear him say that Massachusetts will do an even better job with legalization than Colorado and Washington, with the benefit of that experience. If that is true, why has the state botched adoption medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts, where we’ve had 20+ states ahead of us. We passed the medical marijuana ballot initiative in 2012, the same as Colorado and Washington. They’ve got a whole industry up and running, and we still can’t get a few dispensaries opened?

Danny Danko – You know what is weird, I can’t even remember exactly what he talked about, but I remember distinctly it had an absolutely beautiful vibe, and listening to him made me feel great about the legalization movement. Sorry I didn’t get to meet you, Danny.

Rob Potylo: Rob was the MC on the second stage for day one, and did a crazy set on the main state on day 2. I will spend the rest of the year pondering whether Rob Potylo is brilliant or insane (and in what exact percentages) but there is no question that his mania is one of a kind, fearless, thought-provoking, and impossible to ignore.


The Media is Paying Attention


As legalization becomes a serious political and newsworthy topic, the media can’t help but notice. When the national media like the New York Times does a multi-segment editorial on the rationale for legalization, there is no doubt that the time has come.

Locally, Dig Boston was there in force, and they are a consistent voice for legalization thanks to Chris Faraone, Mike Cann, and many others.

Waaf does weekly broadcasts about legalization. Hosts on WEMF Radio talk about it all the time.

The big local media has covered the piss-poor medical marijuana regulation roll-out and dispensary licensing process, but soon they’ll start to talk about the reality of legalization coming to the Bay State.

The vibe at the whole event was hopeful, resolute, fun, and serious about doing more. There has been amazing progress for reform in Massachusetts so far, and this thing isn’t done until it’s legal.

What will this event be like in 3 years after it has passed? Can’t wait to find out…


About David Matson