The leftwing Party of the Democratic Revolution is preparing legislation that would make it legal to smoke weed in Mexico City, news site Sin Embargo reports.
The potentially game-changing legislation, which legislators plan to introduce in September, would allow people to grow marijuana at home, smoke it in designated clubs and carry up to 25 grams.
Lawmakers say the bill aims to permit marijuana use for medicinal reasons, but also opens the door to legalizing its recreational use.
“Most marijuana consumers aren’t addicts,” Mexico City Deputy Vidal Llerenas Morales told Sin Embargo. “They aren’t criminals. They are functional people.”
News of the coming legislation comes just days after ex-President Vicente Fox made a series of public statements arguing in favor of legalizing the drug as a way to wrench profits away from drug cartels. Fox said earlier this month that he’d grow weed himself if it were legal.
But the country’s current President, Enrique Peña Nieto of the left-leaning Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, in Spanish), is less convinced legalization is the way to go.
“I’m not in favor because it’s not just about legalizing marijuana,” Peña Nieto told CNN shortly after taking office in December. “ It seems to me that this would open up the possibility that some sectors of the population could wind up consuming much more harmful things.”
More than 70,000 people have died from violence tied to the illegal drug trade since Peña Nieto’s predecessor Felipe Calderón launched a frontal assault on Mexico’s drug cartels in 2006.