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Pro-marijuana demonstrators march under wary eye of police

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A modest crowd advocating legal marijuana took to the streets of Mérida on Saturday. Photo: Courtesy

Mérida, Yucatán — Watched over by police armed with machine guns, pro-marijuana activists marched in the Centro on Saturday.

Some of the estimated 70 marchers said their goal was to raise awareness about both the therapeutic and recreational use of the controversial herb.

Their banners and slogans expressed disapproval of public policies that criminalize the use of cannabis, and they demanded the right to decide on the substances they consume.

Organizers say they had anticipated a larger crowd — of more like 1,500 — but enough protestors arrived to gain the attention of police, some of whom photographed participants. La Jornada Maya reported the police limited themselves to observing, not without a certain level of distrust, the contingent.

One marcher was Francisco Peña, whose 10-year-old daughter María Alondra was diagnosed with refractory epilepsy at three months. The condition affects the central nervous system and causes seizures.

A year and a half ago she began using cannabis oil under the supervision of a doctor in Mexico City. RH Oil, produced by HempMeds, is a psychoactive-free drug and has reduced seizures by 80 percent, said Peña.

“She had over 100 daily attacks, and now she has only 20,” he said.

Luis Arjona, who suffers from another nervous-system condition called Huntington’s chorea, also gave testimony.

“I suffer daily in the street,” said the man; who smokes marijuana to replace the Clonazepam pills that they prescribe in the social security. “I have to resign myself to this condition the rest of my life.”

The March for Legalization is an initiative promoted for the last 19 years by the cannabis activist Amy Lee King, researcher and manager of Delta 9, a group that promotes marijuana use.

Mexico has softened its laws on marijuana use, but just a little. The courts decriminalized personal-use possession of five grams in 2009, and then legalized medical marijuana just last year.

But Mexico’s medical marijuana law is very strict. It can be found only in cannabidiol hemp oil, with less than 1 percent THC, the chemical compound in cannabis responsible for a euphoric high.

Source: La Jornada Maya, Herb

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