On Wednesday, Lawmakers in Mexico approved a landmark bill to legalise recreational Marijuana(Cannabis). The passage of the bill could make Mexico the world’s largest cannabis market.
The 316-129 vote in Mexico’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, came more than two years after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the country’s ban on recreational marijuana was unconstitutional and more than three years after the country legalized medicinal cannabis.
The chamber approved the bill in general terms Wednesday evening before moving on to a lengthy discussion of possible revisions introduced by individual lawmakers. In its final form, though, the measure is widely expected to sail through the Senate before being sent to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has signaled support for legalization.
There is hope that passage of the bill could bring a major shift in a country that has been plagued by a drug war and related violence.
Some critics have warned a legal market for marijuana would favor big companies, while low possession limits would still penalize consumers.
Activists also say the new law should address the harm caused by years of militarized anti-drug policies.
If enacted, Mexico would join Canada and Uruguay in a small but growing list of countries that have legalized marijuana in the Americas, adding further momentum to the legalization movement in the region
The legislation is backed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and would make Mexico be the third country in the Americas to have legalised marijuana.
In the United States, Democrats in the Senate have also promised to scrap federal prohibition of the drug this year. The recreational use of cannabis is legal in 14 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. Another 16 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized its use.
The measure, as of Wednesday night, would allow adults to smoke marijuana and, with a permit, grow a small number of cannabis plants at home. It would also grant licenses for producers — from small farmers to commercial growers — to cultivate and sell the crop.