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Demands, identities and repertoire of protest: an analysis of the Mexican cannabis movement

Edgar Guerra (Drug Policy Program, Centre for Economic Research and Teaching, CIDE Region Centro, Aguascalientes, Mexico)

Drugs and Alcohol Today

ISSN: 1745-9265

Article publication date: 29 May 2018

Issue publication date: 30 May 2018




In this paper, the author analyzed the repertoire of protest that cannabis activists employ in marches and mass demonstrations. The purpose of this paper is to understand the relationship between key demands and identities surrounding cannabis movement and the repertoire of protest they normally use.


The work was designed as a qualitative case study to build a deep understanding and detailed description of the cannabis movement’s dynamics and an analysis of its repertoire of protest. Data collection was carried out in two fieldwork periods in 2016 and 2017. This phase mainly consisted of ethnographic work and semi-structured interviews. An exploratory study was also carried out in May 2016. Information was mainly collected through interviews that delved into various issues regarding the movement’s internal composition and dynamics. As such, the author conducted 23 interviews with participants in marches and mass demonstrations, as well as with current non-governmental organization members. The compiled information was analyzed according to the “documentary method.”


Although the Global Marijuana March brings together users, activists, civil society organizations and politicians, the Mexican cannabis movement has non-articulated demands, it lacks a strong common identity and limited resources for mobilization. These features find an echo in a poor repertoire of protest.


This is the first scholarly and systematic analysis of the Mexican cannabis movement in the academic literature. Further, there is a systematic analysis of the cannabis movement repertoire of protest and how cannabis activists are able to translate their demands and identities into banners, chants, performances, masks and costumes, performances, pamphleteering, and demonstrations.



Guerra, E. (2018), "Demands, identities and repertoire of protest: an analysis of the Mexican cannabis movement", Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 108-116.



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