Boston Denies Permit for Annual Marijuana Rally Planned for Next Weekend

Boston Denies Permit for Annual Marijuana Rally Planned for Next Weekend

24th annual Boston Freedom Rally scheduled for September 14 & 15

BOSTON, MA — Eight days before the long-planned first-ever two-day MassCann/NORML Boston Freedom Rally on the Boston Common, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, September 14 and 15, the City of Boston without warning has denied the permit for the two-day event as of Friday, September 6.

This comes two months after representatives of MassCann/NORML met with officials of all affected city departments to iron out details, a meeting at which there was no hint of any such problems.

In a phone call with Bill Downing, treasurer of MassCann, Alex O’Connell, Esq. of the Boston Law Department informed Downing that the City had decided there were not enough police resources to police MassCann/NORML’s event along with other events happening that weekend.

Ms. O’Connell offered no explanation why the City had figured out this was a concern only eight days before the event, given months of constant contact between city officials and MassCann/NORML about various aspects of the upcoming event.

Ms. O’Connell also offered no explanation why the police were needed at all, given that the event is famously peaceful and good-natured, with no alcohol allowed, and Park Rangers and EMTs are on hand to keep order and deal with emergencies.

This is not the first time the City has attempted to derail a Freedom Rally. In 1997 and 1998 the City imposed unworkable and unconstitutional restrictions which were overturned by court injunction.

In 2008, the City attempted to siphon off any proceeds from the rally and redirect them to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, a scheme that was also overturned by court injunction.

MassCann/NORML is considering filing for an injunction in this case as well and is confident that where freedom was born, freedom will once again prevail.


  • Mike


    Not enough police to provide for the rights of public assembly and free speech? Guess that’s what the British should have used for an excuse before the little ol’ Tea Party thing…the 1700s editions, anyway.

  • Crass B

    They must be real proud of themselves. Ruining an event long planned that would celebrate freedom. Sounds like a real triumph for Boston.

  • John

    from the sound of it, its more because of the crowds and a response to the marathon bombings than pot. this festival is, in their eyes, much less important than just about any other event and therefore given less priority.

    that said, this just makes me want to go more to show my support to the cause :)

    • confused

      Good please go if you are able and thx

    • Mike

      I agree, people should go anyway. What are they gonna do, suddenly find enough cops to clear the park, when they didn’t have enough to do crowd control?

      It is really a sad and pathetic excuse. After 9/11, after the Marathon Bombing, the message was a defiant “life will go on!” The point being, that terrorism will not force us to give up a vibrant civic culture, that fear will not keep us from exercising our freedom as Americans.

      Sounds to me like Boston PD is a bunch of quitters, weak lackeys of terrorist-coddling commanders, living in fear of provoking those who would do us harm again.

      Frankly, I think it’s time for thoughtful marijuana consumers to demonstrate, unlike the Boston authorities, they will not live in fear of terrorists — or in fear of prohibition.

      Maybe that’s what the city really fears?

  • Thomas Mc

    Fascism is alive and well in the U.S.A.

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  • Z54

    Hold it in the mayor’s front yard! I’ll bet the city will find all sorts of cops to respond!

  • RockyMissouri

    Your last sentence: ‘Where freedom was born, freedom will once again prevail’…!! Beautiful and truthful words….!!

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