Mexico’s Senate will vote for a bill to fully legalize marijuana in the next few days
Mexico’s Senate will vote for a bill to fully legalize marijuana in the next few days – Photo: Eric Risberg/AP

Mexico’s Senate to vote for marijuana legalization

24/10/2019
13:15
Newsroom & Agencies
Mexico City
Diego Ore, David Alire García & David Gregorio/REUTERS & Suzzette Alcántara & Juan Arvizu/EL UNIVERSAL
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Mexico’s Senate will vote for a bill to fully legalize marijuana in the next few days marking a major step toward changing the country’s approach to the drug by removing it as a source of income for violent drug gangs

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Mexico’s Senate will vote for a bill to fully legalize marijuana in the next few days, a key lawmaker told Reuters, marking a major step toward changing the country’s approach to the drug by removing it as a source of income for violent drug gangs.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a leftist critic of Mexico’s longstanding drug war, has since last year signaled his openness to the decriminalization of marijuana as part of a broader shift on security policy.
 

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Late on Monday, Senator Ricardo Monreal, the leader of López Obrador’s MORENA party in the upper chamber of Congress, said in an interview that a vote on the proposal will take place later this week or next week.

“The end of the prohibitionist policy is good for the country,” he said, adding that the bill would regulate personal use and sale of marijuana as well as research into the plant. It also contemplates the creation of cooperatives that would grow marijuana plus a new regulatory agency.

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If approved by the Senate, the proposal would then proceed to the lower chamber for a vote.

MORENA and its allies hold majorities in both chambers.

Late last year, the Supreme Court said lawmakers have until October 24 to legalize marijuana, after the high court ruled in several cases that the prohibition of the recreational use of the drug violates the constitution.

Under Mexican law, if the Supreme Court issues the same decision five times, the rulings set a precedent and the court can then order the establishment of a regulatory framework as well as further legal action.

While the leader of MORENA in the lower house, Mario Delgado, has proposed that the government tightly administers a future marijuana market, Monreal was noncommittal.

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“There are some (proposals) that would establish a type of state-run monopoly... but we want to leave it more open,” he said.

The 59-year-old lawyer also left open the possibility that the legislation could be put on hold if a public referendum on legalizing marijuana sought by López Obrador were to be authorized first.

“We will know in the next few days if we’re able to build a (legislative) consensus or if we wait for the referendum,” said Monreal.

The legislative leader emphasized that “many companies” have approached him and expressed their interest in the proposal, following similar initiatives in several U.S. states, including California, as well as Canada.

Marijuana regulation looks to allow the use of cannabis for medical, scientific, recreative, and industrial purposes, as well as increasing the grammage for personal use from five to 28 grams.

The regulation will include marijuana’s storage, commercialization, consumption, harvest, growth, distribution, packaging, labeling, exportation and importation, smoking, sponsoring, planting, possessing, preparing, producing, promoting, marketing, transforming, transporting, supplying, selling, and purchasing under any title.

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