Mexico has moved a step closer to what would be a historic moment as its lower house of Congress passed the bill that would decriminalize cannabis for recreational, medical and scientific uses, Reuters reported.
Mexican lawmakers approved the cannabis legalization bill in general with 316 votes in favor and 127 against. If approved in the Senate, which looks likely, the bill will bring the country a step closer to creating one of the world’s largest markets for cannabis.
As per Reuters, the bill would allow five types of licenses for the cultivation, transformation, sale, research and export or import of marijuana. Only people 18 years and older, and with a permit, would be able to grow, carry or consume marijuana and its derivatives.
After decades of strict drug policy, Mexico could soon have a federal law that would for the first time create a legal cannabis trade in the country. It will mark a major shift in a region which has witnessed extreme violence and bloody wars for years between feuding drug cartels.
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How does the government expect it to work?
Backed by the administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the Mexican government hopes the bill would allow for a cannabis industry to flourish on terms that they say would favour corporations, and drive the economy.
The present regime says that the law would undo the past mistakes made by administrations whose drug policies failed to bring about any drastic change while also doing little to reverse the militarized enforcement that got the country into its current morass of violence.
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The law will have a provision of no registry or permits being required for home-grow for personal use, and that dispensaries, which will sell cannabis only to over-18s will be required to share information about their products’ effects and demonstrate quality controls.
While Mexican cartels rely heavily on illegal marijuana trade, government hopes it will pave way for the country to have a route that is more peaceful and will bring about a positive change that will steamroll the economy to greater heights.
However, opponents of marijuana legalization in Mexico argue that it serves as a gateway to more addictive drugs, would increase the number of car crashes relating to marijuana use and would encourage recreational use.
Only time will tell if the bill will really work as government has envisaged it. Nonetheless, Mexico is on the cusp of history, and its people will be hoping it’s for the best.
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