This Saturday (26), the Marcha da Marijuana takes place in Belo Horizonte. With the theme “Let’s plant to save lives”, the demonstration starts at 1 pm, at Praça da Estação, and leaves for Praça da Liberdade at 4:20 pm.
In 2023, A Marcha da Marijuana completes 15 years of existence in the capital of Minas Gerais. In this context in which the debate on the decriminalization of cannabis in Brazil grows, activists emphasize that the fight goes beyond the right to possess and consume marijuana, but that it involves discussions such as the genocide of the black and peripheral population and mass incarceration .
“We make a point of making it clear that it’s not just to smoke that we march. We march for the integral health of the citizen, for social reparation and against this false war on drugs, which is actually a war against blacks and the poor in Brazil”, says Igor Campos, one of the organizers of the act.
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According to the organizers, 30,000 people are expected for the event. The march will feature two electric trios, with cultural presentations and lectures by specialists.
The first Marcha da Marijuana in Belo Horizonte took place in 2008. The movement was organized by activists who wanted to shout out for individual freedom to use cannabis. Since then, the Minas Gerais event has become one of the biggest in Brazil.
“The marijuana march, especially in Belo Horizonte, has a very large following in the periphery. It can be said that the vast majority of the public is from the periphery. The crowd goes down. So, it’s a place where people feel comfortable. It is a place where they feel at home and feel that they can exercise their right to freedom”, highlighted Ingryd Rodrigues (Dyh), who is also the organizer of the demonstration.
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fights and conquests
Despite the current popularity of the act, the protesters recall that they fought hard for the movement not to be banned by the authorities. Igor and Ingryd report that in 2008 the movement was prevented from taking to the streets. In other years, the word “marijuana” was not allowed, being ironically replaced by “pamonha”. There were situations of repression and, many times, the act took place with a strong police escort. In some editions, participants were detained by the Military Police.
One of the first and most important victories of the movement took place in 2011, when Action for Non-Compliance with Fundamental Precepts (ADPF) 187 of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) released the holding of events that defend the legalization of marijuana. The decision gave protesters, in Ingryd’s words, the “right to express themselves and to be in the streets”.
Since then, Marcha da Marijuana has grown, started to be recognized as a popular movement and expanded its activities on other fronts. For example, “Pass the vision” is an activity in which activists go to the outskirts of the city to talk to the population, carry out flyers, talk circles and lectures on the subject.
More recently, in July of this year, the Marcha da Marijuana organized the charity event “Maconheiro good blood”, which collected non-perishable food, clothing and hygiene products, which were distributed to the needy population of the capital.
Bill Guilherme Campos
One of the main political articulations of the Marijuana March in Belo Horizonte is Bill 389/2023, which proposes the free supply in Minas Gerais of medicines made from cannabis. The PL, which is being discussed at the Legislative Assembly of Minas Gerais (ALMG), emerged from a popular laboratory initiative of the movement and was created in partnership with state deputy Andreia de Jesus (PT).
The project is nicknamed “Guilherme Campos”, in honor of the activist who died in April 2023.
At the STF, the decriminalization of possession of drugs for personal consumption is on the agenda. So far, five ministers have voted in favor of the measure. In the session this Thursday (24), Minister André Mendonça asked for a review and the process should return to judgment only in 90 days.
The action brings into debate the interpretation of article 28 of the Drug Law (11.343/2006), which lists the penalties for those who “acquire, store, have in deposit, transport or bring with them, for personal consumption, drugs without authorization or in disagreement with legal or regulatory determination”.
Source: BdF Minas Gerais
Editing: Larissa Costa