France demands legalisation of recreational cannabis

cSporting T-shirts and caps printed with marijuana leaves and with joints hanging from their lips, hundreds of people demonstrated in Paris on Saturday as part of a world march calling for the legalisation of cannabis.

Crowds of protesters, many dressed in Jamaican colours, made their way through the streets of the French capital from the Place de la Republique to Bastille calling for the legalisation of recreational marijuana use.

“What do we want? Legalisation,” chanted the crowd, wreathed in clouds of hashish smoke and gathered behind a banner reading “Another drug policy is possible” and placards calling for “Ganga for all”.

Some, like 16-year-old Julien, came because they wanted to “smoke in peace”.

“Legalisation would mean less trafficking, better products and perhaps less crime,” he explained, between puffs.

But for others, the Global Marijuana March – which also held events in Brazil, Greece, Costa Rica, the US, Germany and South Africa among others this month – was about calling for a better life for the terminally ill.

Beatrice, 52, has AIDS and a disorder of the nervous system that confined her to a wheelchair 20 years ago. “But since I started smoking marijuana, I have felt better,” she said. “I am walking again, it helps my therapy and it helps me to eat.”

For 15 years she has consumed between 0.8 and one gram of cannabis per day and, encouraged by her doctor, she now grows it in her garden. “I try to be discreet,” she said.

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