Mar 11, 2021 - World

Mexico looks to legalize marijuana in landmark bill

Photo of two people rolling marijuana joints
Members of the Mexican Cannabis Movement roll joints in front of the Mexican Senate in Mexico City. Photo: Claudio Cruz/AFP via Getty Images

Lawmakers in Mexico's lower house passed a bill Wednesday to legalize recreational marijuana.

Why it matters: The action sets it up for approval in the Senate before it's sent to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has signaled support for the measure.

  • If signed into law, the provision would add Mexico to a growing list of countries in the Americas that have legalized marijuana. It could also make Mexico the world’s largest cannabis market, the New York Times reports.

Details: The bill would allow adults to smoke marijuana and grow cannabis plants at home with a permit.

  • It would also grant licenses for people to cultivate and sell cannabis.

What they're saying: "Today we are in a historic moment," Simey Olvera, a lawmaker with the governing party, said according to NYT. "With this, the false belief that cannabis is part of Mexico’s serious public health problems is left behind."

The big picture: The move comes more than two years after the country's Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to ban recreational marijuana. The bill, however, has proven divisive.

  • Opponents fear that legalization could fuel the drug war and rates of cartel-driven violence in Mexico.
  • Mexico's actions could add fuel to the movement to legalize marijuana in the U.S. on the federal level. In recent years, more and more states have taken steps toward legalization.
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