A Recap of Our NORML St. Paddies Day Parade and Snoop Concert

Posted on: March 18, 2013

On March 16th, 2013 somewhere around 100,000 people took to the streets of Dallas for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. DFW NORML had hoped to participate in the parade by including our 420 Truth Car, Hydro the Original NORML Boat and Blaze, our new special events SUV, surrounded by members and supporters. Our goal was to raise awareness about prohibition and the simple fact that cannabis is much safer than legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. However, the organization responsible for hosting the event this year, the Greenville Area Avenue Business Association, decided that it would be “ethically inappropriate” for our non-profit to have a float.

This year the parade was meant to be more “family friendly” with “less of a focus on drinking,” but I wouldn’t use either of those phrases to describe what actually transpired that day. Drunk people everywhere with bikini-clad women on nearly every float, tossing beads into the crowd? Oh yeah, real family friendly.

Since our group wasn’t allowed to enter the parade officially, we decided to stage a peaceful protest. About 100 DFW NORML supporters turned out, wearing pro-pot shirts and hats, holding signs, flags and bringing out their kids. We handed out over 2,000 pamphlets about our organization and 250 stickers to attendees, interacted with the media and made our presence known. Our 420 Truth Car & Blaze, the special events SUV were parked near the Fuddruckers on Greenville, with hundreds of parade-goers posing for photos in front of them. We even had our Texas Hemp Flag flying high, being marched all around the parade. The red, white and blue visible from nearly a mile away in the vast sea of green.

During that time, we chatted with Texans about marijuana legalization and how they felt about our group being left out of the festivities. Overwhelmingly, people agreed that we should have been allowed to take part. The most common sentiment we heard? “I bet they don’t say no to you guys again next year!”

After the parade, our media team made our way to through the intoxicated crowd to the Dallas Observer’s St. Patrick’s Day Concert featuring SNOOP DOGG and our friends the Effinays. We arrived just in time to hear Joe, their lead singer, give thanks to DFW NORML for all the support right before kicking off their set. We had a merchandise table setup and sold t-shirts, hats and backpacks while enjoying music from Badfish, Ishi and A.Dd+.

It was a long, hot, grueling day but the exposure was definitely worth it. Ironically, we’ve received more media coverage because the Greenville Area Avenue Business Association denied our permit than we probably would have if they’d have just let us in. Despite the 4 person security detail assigned to us for the day, no one from our group was arrested.

Our protest received the following media coverage:

Dallas Weed Activists Plan St. Paddy’s Day Protest after Being Excluded from Parade – Dallas Observer

Members of marijuana advocacy group NORML peacefully protest at Dallas’ St. Patrick’s Parade – Dallas News

Thousands celebrate St. Patrick’s Day weekend at annual Dallas parade – Dallas News

Marijuana law reform group miffed after exclusion from St. Patrick’s Day parade – WFAA Channel 8

New NORML? Legalize Marijuana Group Banned from Dallas St. Paddy’s Day Parade – CW33 Nightcap News

NORML Denied Permit To March In Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Marijuana.com

A NORML St. Patrick’s Day Protest In Dallas – The Weed Blog

We were also mentioned on 96.3 KSCS in a less than favorable way, but hey, coverage is coverage.

Photos of DFW NORML’s St. Patrick’s Day Protest in Dallas

Disclaimer: The above photo was meant to make light of the “family friendly” nature of the Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade, since the Greenville Area Avenue Business Association deemed us “ethically inappropriate” to participate. Our protestors brought out their families, including their children to celebrate the day and raise awareness about our mission and our denial to participate in this important community event. This photograph was not intended to offend anyone.

DFW NORML exists to promote the reform of our marijuana laws, not to encourage people to consume cannabis or to provide cannabis to children. Our pamphlet even says on the back, “Please don’t contact us asking for help with buying or selling marijuana. Cannabis is illegal. We can’t help.”