Mexico city: Leftist lawmakers in Mexico City`s legislature introduced a bill that would legalise the sale of marijuana within the capital, expanding on a national law that already decriminalises the possession by users of small amounts of pot throughout the country.
It wasn`t immediately clear how wide support was for the idea which was introduced yesterday within the local assembly, which is controlled by the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, but Mayor Manuel Mancera backed the idea and the legislature is one of the most liberal in Mexico. It has previously legalised abortion and gay marriage.
The ambitious plan is sure to create controversy in a country gripped by drug-related violence in several regions and where President Enrique Pena Nieto has insisted that legalisation would not reduce crime. If passed, the legislation would apply only inside the city, which has about 8 million residents, although it`s not clear if all 21 million people in the metropolitan area could take advantage of the law.
The bill`s sponsors acknowledged many details remained to be worked out, but called their proposal a first step in starting discussions about legalising marijuana use. Lawmaker Vidal Llerenas, who proposed the bill, said the objective is to allow authorities to focus on more serious crimes.
"Mexico needs to lead a discussion about how we can deal with drugs in a different way," Llerenas said. "This is a country that has been destroyed by the war against drugs that has been based on prohibition."
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Mexico since the federal government began a crackdown on drug cartels in 2006.
Since 2009, Mexico has allowed the possession of no more than 5 grams of marijuana, about four joints, for personal use, but it still requires arrests of people caught buying or selling pot in any amount.