NYC's 420 Bash: Clouds of Smoke & Cannabis Commerce

NYC's 420 Bash: Clouds of Smoke & Cannabis Commerce
NYC's 420 Bash: Clouds of Smoke & Cannabis Commerce

New York City's famous Washington Square Park was the site of a huge 420 party, with thousands celebrating the plant amidst a giant cloud of marijuana smoke.

420 is considered the most celebrated day for marijuana enthusiasts and just a few years after legalization, New Yorkers are taking full advantage of the laws that allow public consumption in any area where smoking cigarettes is allowed.

At this year's event, many unlicensed vendors hawked their products to eager buyers with cash in hand. With the slow rollout in New York City of only 112 legal stores, the vendors have taken up the supply of the huge demand in New York City.

According to another industry body, The Cannabis Farmers Alliance, losses could amount to several million dollars in the worst cases.

More than half of all US states have legalized recreational and medicinal cannabis use, including New York, which adopted an ambitious plan to ensure that users, over 21, would be able to smoke quality controlled and traceable pot.

The plan was for retail licenses to be earmarked for those who had prior convictions for cannabis offenses, in an effort to redress historic judicial burdens that often fell disproportionately on African-American and Hispanic communities.

Among other bureaucratic delays, a court in August halted the opening of any new cannabis stores, following a complaint by US military veterans who alleged discrimination because they weren't given the same opportunity as the ex-convicts.

The Democratic-controlled state last month finally reached a settlement with the veterans, clearing the way for the approved stores to open.

Since decriminalization, New York City has been even more perfumed than previously with the unmistakable sweet smell of cannabis, sold more or less clandestinely in plentiful unlicensed shops amid the slow rollout of legal retail.