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Mexico considers legalizing marijuana during its war on drugs

Mexico may soon legalize marijuana, a radical shift for a country whose prohibition on narcotics has been at the heart of its long and violent war against drug traffickers.

Legislation submitted to Congress this month by the party of leftist President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador would regulate cannabis, allowing it to be grown, sold and consumed for recreational use.

Proponents of legalization say it would reduce bloodshed in Mexico by weakening drug cartels and freeing up police officers and prosecutors to focus on more serious crimes. But the proposal has critics, including the Catholic Church, which holds significant sway in Mexican politics. A poll in Mexico last year showed a majority of respondents opposed legalizing marijuana.

Here’s more about where the legalization effort stands — and what may come next.

Question: What has happened so far?

Answer: The bill presented to Congress comes on the heels of two crucial Supreme Court rulings that in effect overturned Mexico’s ban on the recreational use of marijuana.

The rulings, issued Oct. 31, found that individual liberty to choose whether to consume the drug outweighs any potential downsides.

“The effects provoked by marijuana do not justify an absolute prohibition of its consumption,” the court said. [Read more at Sonoma Index-Tribune]

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