Mexican lawmakers introduce bill to allow marijuana possession

Marijuana plant. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Jennifer Martin

Nov. 10 (UPI) — The party of Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has introduced a bill to allow possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana, in a bid to quell drug-related violence.

The General Law for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis would make it possible to use marijuana in public, except where smoking tobacco is not allowed, according to information published by the Mexican Senate on Thursday.

“The law responds to the new reality that the country lives: 240,000 dead and 40,000 disappeared within 10 years, in addition to thousands of children threatened by organized crime,” legislator Olga Sanchez, of the Morena Party, said as she introduced the bill.

The bill also allows possession of as many as 20 cannabis plants per person, but any more than 480 grams produced annually would have to be donated for research.

The bill, which includes 75 articles, includes sanctions for those who employ minors in cultivation or delivery of marijuana. The new model aims for strict control, Sanchez said.

Commercial activities involving cannabis, and cannabis products, would be regulated and selling points determined. All participants in the market would have to take actions to reduce cannabis consumption-related risks.

Authorities would have 30 days after the bill’s passage to start a program to free from jail anyone covered retroactively by the law. The inmates must be released within two months after that.

Morena, or the National Regeneration Party, is likely to get the bill passed, as it has control of both chambers of the Mexican legislature.

It also has a majority in the Senate, where it secured control in September of the top committees — including those for finance, justice, education, foreign affairs and government affairs, Excelsior reported at the time. The Senate has 128 members.

It also has a majority in the chamber of representatives, with 256 legislators, after it secured nine new members in September, Razon reported.

President-elect Lopez Obrador, who won a landslide victory in July as a candidate of the Morena Party, will take office Dec. 1 and hold a six-year term. Congress, which already includes the most recently elected legislators, was installed in September.

Foreign Minister-designate Marcelo Ebrard said recently there are 9,000 people jailed in Mexico for drug possession. He added that the legalization could proceed and cited prior Supreme Court decisions that set a precedent by favoring marijuana cultivation.

Olga Sanchez served as a jurist in the Supreme Court until 2015, after nearly two decades.

Currently, Uruguay is the only Latin American country that has fully legalized marijuana.

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