In Mexico City, the conversation has begun in earnest about legalizing marijuana. This weekend, in addition to the capital’s yearly Marcha Cannabica, pro-legalization advocates diversified, some forgoing the yearly public demonstration to spend the day in workshops on weed cultivation or watching global experts debate on how best to go forward with the movement.
This was the 16th year of the Marcha Cannabica, a thousands-strong procession of marijuana users that rings central plaza Alameda Central. The march is timed to correspond with similar efforts taking place worldwide in a day of international cannabis activism.
Happening for the first time in 2016 was Cannabis Hub, the two-day expo that organizers hoped would restart the cannabis debate at a more appropriate juncture, given that the Supreme Court determined last fall that four individuals have the constitutional right to consume marijuana if they choose.
Cannabis Hub programming included a heavy focus on self cultivation, which drew small crowds of dedicated beginning horticulturists, eager to hear from international experts like Uruguay’s Juan Baz and Spain’s Martin Barriuso, who also shared their experiences as some of their countries’ leading cannabis club founders and legalization advocates.
The more upscale take on cannabis activism drew attendance by many politicians, some of whom participated in a Friday night panel titled “The State on Regulation.”
But those who could not afford the Cannabis Hub 200 peso daily entry fee, or who preferred a more populist approach to their activism, attended the May 7 march that fills Paseo de la Reforma between Alameda Central and the Monumento a la Revolución with smoke each year. Rasta colors and gaudy marijuana-themed clothing were almost as popular at the march as lit joints.
The thousands that showed up for the various marijuana events this year may have been activated by increased conversation at a federal level about marijuana regulation.
In April, President Enrique Peña Nieto suggested that the limit for legal possession of marijuana be raised from five grams to 28.
A series of forums run by the federal government also convened experts to discuss recreational and medical uses of the plant earlier this year.
This weekend, an alternate march also assembled at Monumento a la Madre. It proceeded into the Juárez neighborhood, where police closed a street barrier when the parade had passed halfway through, leaving marchers divided into two, confused groups.
Clearly, not everyone is on board the legalized marijuana train, quite yet.