BRASILIA – A Cabinet minister was among those who turned out for marches in support of marijuana legalization in Brazil, joining people in 250 cities across the world in calling for the drug’s decriminalization.
Environment Minister Carlos Minc participated in the protest Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, where nearly 1,200 people marched through Ipanema beach to call for the legalization of pot.
Minc said he was taking part in the demonstration in an unofficial capacity and was merely expressing his opinion as a citizen.
The march in Rio was the largest in the South American country, but protests were also held in the southern city of Porto Alegre, where nearly 500 people took to the streets, and in Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Juiz de Fora, among other cities.
Protesters criticized rulings by state courts, which banned the marches in several cities on the grounds that they sought to provide a “defense” for illegal drug use.
The marches to press for marijuana legalization were organized over the Internet by groups linked to the World Social Forum.