Thousands of marijuana advocates protested last weekend for the annual Global Marijuana March. Rallies and civil disobedience (mostly in the form of smoking weed in public) were observed in Cape Town, Dresden, Fort Worth, Toronto, Rio De Janeiro, Philadelphia, and many, many other locations all over the world: 829 cities in 72 countries total, according to RT.
Though all these rallies were united by the root cause of cannabis policy reform, it’s interesting to note the differences in why these various nations want legal marijuana. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, the emphasis was on access to legal medical marijuana. Children suffering from epilepsy, many of them in wheelchairs, led the march.
“Using medication with cannabis, a growing number of patients are finding that cannabis is a relief, not the cure, but it will help restore quality of life to people and patients, the children have been suffering since birth,” protester Maria Laura Alasi told Ruptly.
Meanwhile, in Rio De Janeiro, the concern seems to center around incarceration. “To legalize marijuana would make a big difference, first to fight the oversaturation of prisons,” said Renato Cinco, a Brazilian politician, who participated in the March. “Today in Brazil, the majority of [drug] traffic prisoners are there because of selling marijuana that way legalizing it would reduce the number of prisoners.”
Even in US states where recreational pot has been OK’d by the law, activists still have demands. “We have nowhere to smoke. We have nowhere to take our medicine in,” Oregon NORML executive director Scott Gordon told The Oregonian. “The march today is our voice for changing this… To let everyone know that we are not done. Just because Oregon legalized in 2014 it doesn’t mean that everything is all gravy.”
And in Canada, where cannabis legalization is likely coming soon, the concern for some is price. “It should be legalized, it should be cheaper,” the leader of Toronto march told the Toronto Sun. “It’s so expensive because it’s not legal yet. I appreciate the Liberals wanting to do it right, but the rollout is so slow.”
It’s hard to quantify how successful the global event was this week in raising awareness, but at the very least it’s a sort of state of the union for the worldwide pro-cannabis movement, letting us all take stock of what’s been accomplished in the last year and what the priorities of different communities are.
Photo via Flickr user Ryan McGilchrist