Rolling Rally: Our guide to the 22nd Annual Freedom Rally

Make the most of your freedom
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  September 19, 2011

It would have been impossible — or at least boneheaded — to print this sort of treasure map a few years ago. But in the post-decriminalized commonwealth, we're essentially allowed to burn in public: last year's Freedom Rally had just two marijuana arrests (for possession with intent to distribute), and 34 $100 tickets issued. But while your chances of getting bagged or fined are minimal, your likelihood of getting lost in the thick billows is riskier than ever. Here's your guide to the 22nd annual Freedom Rally (which hits Boston Common at high noon on September 17), and to the places and events across Boston where people will be puffing, protesting, and partying.



1_ Before heading to the Common, the Freedom Rally sparks up Friday night at the MIDDLE EAST UPSTAIRS (472 Mass Ave, Cambridge) with performances by That Handsome Devil, Neurological Damage, and more.

2_ Site of the Freedom Rally's main stage, Boston Common's CARTY PARADE GROUND will feature speeches from seasoned pot crusaders, plus performances from artists ranging from DJ Slim (3:30 pm) and Termanology (3:45 pm) to Tree (5:10 pm), Mighty Mystic (1:40 pm), and Casey Desmond (12:35 pm).

3_ The well-shaded PARKMAN BANDSTAND stage will play host to acts including local toke hero Rob Potylo and his band the Lonely Planets (3:55 pm).

4_ Let's just say the Freedom Rally doesn't attract your average food and kitsch VENDORS. More than 30 booths and tents in all.

5_ Geographically the "highest" point on Boston Common, MOUNT MARY JANE is a prime place to catch a contact buzz and blend into the cloud.

6_ The politically active gang from UNREGULAR RADIO ( will broadcast live throughout the day from Boston Common.

7_ All shouts, sentiments, and exhales will be directed toward the MASSACHUSETTS STATE HOUSE, where there are currently bills in the House and Senate to legalize medical marijuana.

8_ The closest nugget-friendly shop to the rally, THE HEMPEST (207 Newbury Street, Boston), goes far beyond basic pot spot staples with its extensive selection of hemp gear and accessories.

9_ Just two train stops away from all the action, SUGAR DADDY'S (472 Comm Ave, Boston) can hook up everything from rally-friendly one-hitters to wraps and vaporizers.

10_ Incoming college freshmen look no further. BURIED TREASURES (377 Cambridge Street, Boston; 28 Haviland Street, Allston) has enough incense and Rasta novelties to fill 10,000 dorm rooms.

11_ A destination Mecca for water-pipe aficionados, GREEN SIDE UP gallery (202 Harvard Avenue, Boston) is the place for hand-blown glass masterpieces that you won't find on the Common.

12_ While the locations of unofficial after-parties are yet to be announced, you can always count on the heads hanging in CHINATOWN to be roasting more than duck.

13_ No matter what, last call is at the official encore bash with Brunt of It at MCGANN'S in North Station. Freedom Rally volunteers party for free.

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