Mexico Considers Legalizing Marijuana

Mexico might open up its draconian anti-marijuana laws and legalize the drug, at least that's the hope of some forward-thinking politicians.

A bill introduced Thursday would allow for the legal sale of weed under certain restrictions in the country's capital, Mexico City, according to The Associated Press. The law would create a health program to monitor consumption and sale of cannabis, the outlet notes. Selling pot would not be allowed near schools.

The bill would also fully legalize the possession of 5 grams of pot or less. Although Mexico decriminalized up to 5 grams of pot back in 2009, people caught with those amounts can be held by the police and made to go through drug treatment programs, the Latin Times reports.

Additionally, a separate bill introduced Thursday in Mexico would liberalize pot laws on the national scale, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, a New York-based nonprofit organization that advocates for drug reform. That bill would allow for the medical use of marijuana in Mexico by eliminating penalties for the prescribing of pot to people suffering from certain medical conditions, the organization said in a press release.

If passed, the law would also reclassify marijuana from a List 1 to a List 3 substance, meaning it would be considered to have some therapeutic benefits.

The national bill would also decentralize drug control policy away from the federal level, allowing states more power to form their own laws surrounding the legal sale of weed.

The joint efforts in Mexico to ease up on cannabis restrictions appear to have been inspired partly by Colorado's largely successful implementation of legal marijuana. The Mexican politicians responsible for both the Mexico City bill and the federal bill were recently hosted in Colrado by the Drug Policy Alliance. The politicians were shown the state's dispensaries and talked with state officials in charge of implementing the legal pot program.

The bills in Mexico could lead to positive change for the country's drug war. Since 2007, around 80,000 people have lost their lives as a result of the fighting between drug cartels and Mexico's armed forces, according to Reuters.

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