Mexico Takes Big Step Toward Legalizing Pot

Measure sailed through Chamber of Deputies
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2021 1:03 AM CST
Mexican Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Pot
Under the proposed law, people will need a permit to carry or consume marijuana.   (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

Mexico is on course to become the second North American country to fully legalize marijuana. Lawmakers in the lower house of the country's parliament voted 361-129 Wednesday night to legalize marijuana for recreational use, reports Reuters. The bill, which will allow people to grow up to six marijuana plants at home and introduces a licensing system for larger-scale cultivation, has the support of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and is expected to easily pass the country's Senate after revisions are completed. Legalization in Mexico will create the world's largest legal marijuana market, and will leave the US between two neighbors that have fully legalized the drug, the New York Times reports. Canada legalized recreational marijuana in 2018.

"Today we are making history," said Simey Olvera, a Chamber of Deputies member from the ruling Morena party. "With this, the false belief that cannabis forms part of Mexico’s serious health problems is left behind." The bill's critics argue that polls show around two-thirds of Mexicans do not support full legalization and that with traffickers now focusing on fentanyl and other drugs, the move will do little to reduce cartel violence, the Times reports. In 2018, Mexico's Supreme Court ruled that the ban on recreational marijuana was unconstitutional and told the government to formally legalize the drug. Medical marijuana had been legalized the previous year. (Read more Mexico stories.)

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