A revolutionary change can occur in Mexico, as the country’s Chamber of Deputies passed a bill this month that legalized marijuana for recreational, medical, and scientific use. The bill will have to be approved by the Senate before becoming a law, but the Morena party which proposed it has a majority in the Senate as well as in the Chamber of Deputies, so it is expected that soon the law will become a reality. The president of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador also supported the bill.
The bill proposes for people over the age of 18 to be allowed to use marijuana for recreational use with a permit, grow up to eight plants and possess up to 28 grams, which is relatively similar to what is allowed in the other two countries which have legalized marijuana on a national level – Canada and Uruguay. In Canada, the possession of up to 30 grams is decriminalized and it is allowed to grow up to four plants. In Uruguay, it is allowed to grow up to six plants and registered consumers are allowed 40 grams per month and need to be 18 or older to register as consumers.
What makes the situation in Mexico different is the fact that the country has been notorious with its drug trafficking, marijuana being one of the most trafficked drugs. The country has been unable to stop violence related to drug trafficking for years. The attempts to oppose and limit the activities of drug cartels have been unsuccessful, as cartels are now believed to have control over 20% of the country’s territory.
The legalization of marijuana can, therefore, be seen as a new approach towards solving the drug trafficking problem, a new attempt to oppose the devastation that drug cartels cause. The main reason for drug trafficking is that there is a demand for something which cannot be obtained in a shop, cannot be obtained legally. By legalizing marijuana, the demand can be satisfied by the government through a controlled distribution of marijuana. The government hopes that this could reduce violent crimes and the fights between cartels to control trafficking routes, simply because people will now be able to legally obtain and grow marijuana.
However, large amounts of marijuana produced in Mexico do not stay in Mexico but is trafficked to the United States and the world, where there still be a demand until marijuana is legalized everywhere. Therefore, many specialists are sceptical about the positive impact of the legalization of marijuana in Mexico. Opinions about the effectiveness of legalization of marijuana in Mexico as related to reducing violence and drug trafficking are also divided because of the adaptability of drug cartels – if not marijuana, they can always traffic other illegal substances for which there is demand.
Nevertheless, there is an important point that needs to be made about the connection between drug trafficking and the importance of legalization of marijuana – the interconnectivity between countries. Experts note that after 15 American states have legalized marijuana, drug trafficking has not stopped, but shifted towards other substances. Therefore, the effectiveness of marijuana legalization in Mexico seems really dubious as America has been one of the main trafficking destinations and the legalization there only resulted in a shift in the substance that is being trafficked, it did not reduce the drug trafficking itself.
Consequently, legalization of marijuana is of paramount importance to the ordinary users and there are many such in Mexico as well everywhere else in the world. Legalization of marijuana could eliminate unnecessary judicial proceedings against people detained with minimal amounts of marijuana in their possession; it can also be beneficial for users because people will know that they can always supply themselves legally with the plant if they want it, which is a comforting thought at the very least and can prevent them from attempting ant criminal activities in order to obtain the plant.
The attempt of Mexico to reduce violent crime by legalizing marijuana proves another important point about the plant – until all countries legalize marijuana and until people’s opinion and view of the plant as a dangerous drug changes, the separate efforts of the countries will not be successful. What is needed is a unified global approach to marijuana legalization, because unlike other substances, the benefits of marijuana outnumber the negative effects.
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