In­com­ing Mex­ico gov­ern­ment sends mar­i­juana bill to Congress

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

MEX­ICO CITY (Reuters) — Mex­ico’s in­com­ing gov­ern­ment sub­mit­ted a bill on Thurs­day to cre­ate a med­i­cal mar­i­juana in­dus­try and al­low its recre­ational use, part of a crime-fight­ing plan that would make Mex­ico one of the world’s most pop­u­lous coun­tries to le­gal­ize the drug.

The bill would per­mit com­pa­nies to grow and com­mer­cial­ize mar­i­juana. Peo­ple would also be al­lowed to cul­ti­vate plants for pri­vate use, as long as they reg­is­ter in an anony­mous gov­ern­ment list­ing and pro- duce no more than 480 grams (1 lb) of mar­i­juana per year.

Smok­ing pot in pub­lic places would also be per­mit­ted.

Olga Sanchez, des­ig­nated in­te­rior min­is­ter of Pres­i­dent-elect An­dres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said pro­hi­bi­tion has fed vi­o­lence and poverty, crit­i­ciz­ing a 12-year crack­down on drug gangs that has claimed tens of thou­sands of lives.

“To­day, the na­tion has taken the de­ci­sion to change,” she told sen­a­tors. “We don’t want more deaths. It will be a ma­jor con­tri­bu­tion to bring­ing peace to our beloved coun­try.”

Mex­ico would join Canada and Uruguay in al­low­ing recre­ational mar­i­juana use, as well as 10 U.S. states.

Un­der the Mex­i­can bill, cannabis pro­duc­ers would be banned from hir­ing mi­nors or sell­ing the drug to them.

Lopez Obrador, a vet­eran left­ist who takes of­fice Dec. 1, has promised ma­jor changes to Mex­ico’s se­cu­rity strat­egy, sug­gest­ing a ne­go­ti­ated peace and amnesty for some of the very peo­ple cur­rently tar­geted by se­cu­rity forces.

The coali­tion led by his Na­tional Re­gen­er­a­tion Move­ment (MORENA) party has a ma­jor­ity in both houses, and other par­ties have also sig­naled sup­port for mar­i­juana le­gal­iza­tion.

The mount­ing vi­o­lence of re­cent years and grad­ual le­gal­iza­tion of the drug in U.S. states has fu­eled sup­port for a change in pol­icy in Mex­ico. Prom­i­nent back­ers of al­low­ing mar­i­juana use in­clude for­mer Mex­i­can Pres­i­dent Vi­cente Fox.

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