MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The new Mexican government on Thursday introduced a bill to create a marijuana industry for medical purposes and to allow its use for recreational purposes, as part of the government's plan. a crime-fighting plan that would make Mexico one of the most populous countries in the world to legalize this drug.
PHOTO FILE: A marijuana plantation is photographed before being destroyed as part of an operation conducted by federal forces in Sierra Juarez, in the municipality of Ensenada, Mexico, July 16, 2018 REUTERS / Jorge Duenes / Photo File
The bill would allow businesses to grow and market marijuana. People would also be allowed to grow plants for private use, provided they are listed on an anonymous government list and do not produce more than 480 grams (1 lb) of marijuana a year. (Bit.ly/2qxxVDK)
It would also be allowed to smoke pot in public places.
Olga Sanchez, President-elect-designated Interior Minister Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said the ban fuels violence and poverty, criticizing a 12-year crackdown on drug gangs that have killed tens of thousands of people.
"Today, the country has made the decision to change," she told senators. "We do not want any more dead. It will be a major contribution to peace in our beloved country. "
Mexico would join Canada and Uruguay to allow recreational use of marijuana, as well as 10 US states.
Under Mexican law, cannabis producers would be prohibited from hiring minors or selling them drugs.
Lopez Obrador, a leftist veteran who takes office on 1 December, pledged major changes to Mexico's security strategy, suggesting a negotiated peace and amnesty for some of those currently targeted by the security forces.
The coalition led by his party, the National Movement for Regeneration (MORENA), has a majority in both houses. Other parties have also expressed their support for the legalization of marijuana.
Rising violence in recent years and the gradual legalization of drugs in the United States have prompted support for a policy shift in Mexico. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox has been one of the leading proponents of marijuana use.
Since the end of 2006, Mexico has used the armed forces to fight drug gangs, the main illegal marijuana providers in the United States. The gangs split up fighting over the roads and territories of the traffic, fueling the violence.
According to government data, more than 31,000 murders were recorded last year in Mexico, the highest number recorded since the start of modern registration.
Report by Lizbeth Diaz and Daina Beth Solomon; Edited by Dave Graham and Grant McCool