Mexico eyes legalizing pot

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Mexico City — President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s future interior minister introduced a bill Tuesday to legalize marijuana in Mexico, a country wracked by violence fueled by its powerful drug cartels.

Senator and future interior minister Olga Sanchez Cordero introduced the bill, to “propose a responsible regulation model adapted to Mexico’s circumstances,” according to the text published on the Senate’s website.

Sanchez has been given “carte blanche” to explore ways to overhaul drug policy under Lopez Obrador, an anti-establishment leftist who takes office on 1 December after winning Mexico’s July elections in a landslide.

Lopez Obrador’s coalition holds a majority in both houses of Congress, giving the bill a good chance of passing.

That would mark a sea change after decades of prohibitionist policy in Mexico, whose shared border with the United States, proximity to leading narcotics producers such as Colombia, and domestic production of marijuana, heroin and other drugs have made it one of the top drug trafficking countries in the world.

If the bill passed, Mexico would become just the third country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis use, after Canada and Uruguay.

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