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Mexico Considering Legalizing Marijuana Use

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If an online poll were any indication, it's possible that the Mexican government is mulling over legalizing marijuana or perhaps support it as some bills struggle in the legislative department.

On Monday, March 25, the Security and Citizen Protection, responsible for supervising the federal police and prison, surprised the Mexicans with an online poll, asking whether the government should legalize marijuana for recreational use.

"Should the use of marijuana for recreational purposes be?" translated the tweet.

The survey, which received over 85,000 responses, closed down on Tuesday afternoon with 81 percent saying yes and 19 percent considering it as illegal.

The Piecemeal Legalization

Marijuana and Mexico have become synonymous through the years, partly thanks to the media and drug wars. In reality, the relationship between the two is complicated.

In 2009, the government decriminalized the possession of weed as long as it doesn't weigh more than 5 grams, and it's for personal use. It also extended the same approval to other types of drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

The objective was to pivot drug consumption from being a criminal offense to a public health issue that may require treatment for the user among others.

The most significant change happened in 2017 when it made medical cannabis legal. It was preceded by a Supreme Court ruling in favor of Graciela Elizalde, the first weed patient.

Although Mexico now allows weed for medical use, recreational marijuana is still illegal. From 2015 to 2017, however, five Supreme Court decisions found prohibition use against recreation cannabis to be unconstitutional.

These rulings are significant since they can now compel all the other courts to come up with the same judgment for similar cases. They should allow the possession, growing, and use of recreational marijuana as long as it is not for sale.

While individuals may still face fines and arrests for possession or commercialization, they can now challenge their situations to the court.

Battling The Hurdles Of Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana use in Mexico may be receiving full support from its citizens and even from its Supreme Court, but it needs to hurdle other challenges before legalization can truly occur.

For one, there are no existing regulations on medical cannabis, which means Mexicans still cannot maximize the plant's potential benefits two years after its legalization.

Currently, Hector Franco and Armando Luna, two former lawmakers, are working with a marijuana consulting firm in Denver, Colorado, to write them.

"It's legal. You can do it. But they forgot to tell us how to do it. So that's what we're doing right now," noted Luna.

A bipartisan bill seeking the legalization of the sale of marijuana in stores operated by the state also stalled. It will appear in the next legislative agenda, which is scheduled in 2020.

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