Last month the annual “Boston Freedom Rally” descended on the Boston Common as thousands of marijuana enthusiasts gathered to celebrate the cannabis plant and the success of the marijuana law reform movement. But what was left behind in the wake of the event has Boston lawmakers calling for a change of venue next year.
According to The Boston Globe, not only were mountains of trash left behind, but also needles and grass damaged by vehicles.
“As a city, we take tremendous pride in our public spaces, and the conditions we saw in the aftermath of this weekend’s Boston Freedom Rally . . . are both appalling and unacceptable,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in the statement. “The Boston Common is a beloved place in our city, as it is America’s first park, and we expect that all event organizers and vendors respect this public space, because it belongs to all of us.”
— Jim Canales (@jcanales) September 17, 2018
For their part, the organizers of the event – The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition – say that some vendors failed in their duties to clean up their areas and that they are willing to work with local authorities to make things better, offering to expand cleaning crews and even fence in the event. The one thing they say they won’t do, however, is take the event out of the Boston Common.
“It’s the symbolic home of freedom and free speech. And it’s a matter of principle – we have a right to be there. We get our permits and go through the same process everybody else does,” said Maggie Kinsella, a member of the coalition’s board.
Beyond giving the cannabis community a black eye at the precise time when we don’t need it – as legalization takes effect in Massachusetts and momentum for the movement spreads across the country – things like this are galling for another reason: they are easily avoidable.
Picking up trash you have left on the ground is not only easy, it should be second nature. Who gets into the habit of just dropping garbage where they stand and walking away? And how do many people come to do it and no one sees that it might be a problem?
Picking up after one’s self shouldn’t even be a discussion we should be having about adults, but here we are. A stark reminder that some people are just in it for the fun and have little regard for the fight that still rages in a million different ways every day between cannabis users and law enforcement.