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Hundreds march across France to legalize cannabis (PHOTOS)

Published time: May 11, 2014 13:16
Edited time: May 12, 2014 22:06
People pose in front a placard reading "Legalize cannabis" as they take part in a protest to call for the legalization of marijuana on May 10, 2014 in Paris. (AFP Photo / Pierre Andrieu)

People pose in front a placard reading "Legalize cannabis" as they take part in a protest to call for the legalization of marijuana on May 10, 2014 in Paris. (AFP Photo / Pierre Andrieu)

Hundreds of protesters all over France have been rallying demonstrating in favor of legalizing cannabis. The event coincides with the so-called world march for the legalization of the drug.

In Paris, protesters gathered on Bastille Square on Saturday, after Cannabis Without Frontiers, an organization struggling to legalize marijuana in the country, called for the rally.

The crowd chanted “Marie-Jeanne!” in a reference to the nickname for marijuana in France.

Many of the protesters held joints or leaves of marijuana, dancing to reggae music.

“First of all, we want the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes. And then, we want the end to the prohibition,” Farid Ghehiouche, the founder of Cannabis Without Frontiers, said.

A woman (C) sells bags and caps on which are drawn cannabis leafs while people take part in a protest to call for the legalization of marijuana on May 10, 2014 in Paris. (AFP Photo / Pierre Andrieu)

Ghehiouche is also sure that the legalization of marijuana would lead to “a drop in crime levels.”

“Represssion doesn’t work. You can’t stop the people from smoking,” 28-year-old Stéphanie Geisler told Le Parisien. She said she had come to the protest to “advance the debate.”

Thirteen other cities across France also saw protests, but there were fewer people participating: in Lyon, Rennes, Lille or Marseille only dozens of demonstrators took to the streets, AFP reported.

In the northeastern city of Metz, around 40 people protested, most of them in their 20s. One of the organizers, however, wasn’t sure that smoking marijuaha is necessarily for the young.

“There are people who smoke in different layers of society. The legalization will permit to regulate the market, to create thousands of jobs, and to make fiscal income for the state,” Jean-François Diverres, 52, said.

In France, cannabis has been illegal since 1970, with penalties of up to one year in prison and a fine of 3,750 euros.

People hold a banner reading "Stop the prohibition" as they face policemen during a protest to call for the legalization of marijuana on May 10, 2014, at the Old Harbour in Marseille, southern France. (AFP Photo / Anne-Christine Poujoulat)

A woman holds a placard reading "Prohibition equals politicians, banks, justice, all accomplices of the Mafia" as she takes part in a protest to call for the legalization of marijuana on May 10, 2014 in Paris. (AFP Photo / Pierre Andrieu)

People hold signs reading ''Coordination hemp and freedoms'' during a protest to call for the legalization of marijuana on May 10, 2014 in Toulouse, southern France. (AFP Photo / Remy Gabalda)

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