Ston­ers get high next to Se­nate

Bangkok Post - - WORLD -

MEX­ICO CITY: A cannabis “gar­den” sprout­ing next to Mex­ico’s Se­nate build­ing has be­come a smoker’s par­adise, with Mex­i­can ston­ers light­ing up joints with­out fear of ar­rest.

The cannabis seeds sowed in a plaza by Mex­ico’s Se­nate by pro-mar­i­juana ac­tivists in Fe­bru­ary have mush­roomed into strik­ingly large plants, and be­come sym­bolic of a drive to le­galise mar­i­juana in a na­tion riven by drugsre­lated vi­o­lence.

“Be­ing able to smoke here [in the gar­den] in free­dom is very im­por­tant to me,” said Marco Flores, a barista sit­ting on a bench over­look­ing the Congress build­ing. “I no longer go out on the streets in fear.”

Mex­ico’s Supreme Court has ruled that laws pro­hibit­ing cannabis use are un­con­sti­tu­tional but the govern­ment is yet to draft leg­is­la­tion that would for­mally le­galise mar­i­juana, leav­ing pot-smok­ers fac­ing crim­i­nal charges if caught smok­ing.

But in the gar­den run by pro-mar­i­juana ac­tivists, peo­ple are al­lowed in for 30 min­utes at a time and can light up in peace. So far po­lice ap­pear to be turn­ing a blind eye to the prac­tice, though it’s un­clear how long that will last.

“It’s great that they have opened a space for peo­ple who are open to new ex­pe­ri­ences, or who want to find out a lit­tle bit about this sub­ject,” said Car­los Diaz, an­other smoker. “They can come and check it out.”

For Jose Rivera, a cannabis ac­tivist, the gar­den is a tool to ed­u­cate and of­fer “hu­man rights”.

“We want (Mex­i­can law­mak­ers) to un­der­stand that we are smok­ing qui­etly and that we are not a risk to any­one,” he said. “Enough of this mis­treat­ment.”

REUTERS

An ac­tivist shows a place to med­i­tate in­side the cannabis protest gar­den, next to Mex­ico’s Se­nate build­ing in Mex­ico City.

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