PanARMENIAN.Net - The party of Mexico's president-elect has submitted legislation to legalize the possession, public use, growth and sale of marijuana in what would be a major change to the country's narcotics strategy, The Guardian reports.
Senator Olga Sanchez Cordero - who has been picked as interior secretary by president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador - said prohibition has fed violence and poverty, criticizing a 12-year crackdown on drug gangs that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
"Today, the nation has taken the decision to change," she told senators. "We don't want more deaths. It will be a major contribution to bringing peace to our beloved country."
If the bill passes, Mexico would join Canada, Uruguay and a number of US states that permit recreational use of the drug and allow its commercialization.
Mexico, which banned marijuana in the early 20th century, is still a major supplier of illicit weed to the United States. It has been racked by a decade of conflict between cartels over supply routes for heroin, cocaine and synthetic drugs to its northern neighbor.
Sanchez's bill also would allow every Mexican to grow up to 20 marijuana plants on private property and produce up to 17 ounces (480 grams) a year. Edible marijuana products would be prohibited.
In 2016, Mexico's government began granting permits for some patients to import medicinal marijuana products. It has also decriminalized small amounts of marijuana and issued several permits for people to cultivate and possess pot for personal use.
Lopez Obrador, who takes office 1 December, has promised major changes to Mexico's approach to the war on drugs, suggesting a negotiated peace and amnesty for people involved in the narcotics trade.
In the 26-page bill posted on the Congress website, Sanchez wrote that Mexico's cannabis prohibition has contributed to crime and violence, adding that in the 12 years since Mexico launched a war on cartels, 235,000 people have been killed.