The United States isn’t the only place where attitudes towards marijuana are changing. Uruguay recently legalized cannabis, joining the U.S. states of Washington and Colorado. Now, a prominent city in the western hemisphere, Mexico City, hopes to join them, setting the stage for further advancement towards the destruction of marijuana prohibition.
According to the Associated Press, lawmakers in Mexico City recently proposed legislation that would allow for the sale of marijuana in stores within the city limits. While the bill leaves many questions unanswered, and it’s fate is unknown, the fact that it is even being proposed is a sign of things to come.
Greater Mexico City, with a population of 21.2 million people, is the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere. It is an important financial, political, and cultural center. Similar to Washington D.C., Mexico City is a federal entity that is not part of any of the 31 Mexican states, so like Washington D.C., the city itself holds the power to pass local laws.
The proposed bill would allow for the sale of up to 5 grams (about 4 joints-worth) from local stores. Currently, it’s legal to possess this amount in the country, but you face immediate arrest if caught buying or selling it.
“Rather than continue fighting a war that makes no sense, now we are joining a cutting-edge process,” added Jorge Castaneda, a former Mexican foreign minister who says the initiative “puts Mexico City in a leading position in Latin America.”
The local legislature is currently controlled by the Democratic Revolution Party, considered the most liberal in the country. Further, Mexico City Mayor Angel Mancera supports the bill.
If passed, the law would no-doubt be challenged by the federal government, who similar to the federal government of the U.S., is largely opposed to any drug legalization. Controlled by the far more conservative National Action Party, the feds are also considering a legalization bill that is likely destined to go nowhere.
That bill would allow Mexicans to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana and would allow for the production of marijuana throughout the country. Again, though not likely to pass, the mere consideration of this bill is a step in the right direction.
The Mexico City bill could pass and lay the groundwork for a conversation at the federal level. If the people of Mexico want legalization, the government will ultimately be forced to listen at-minimum.
“Mexico needs to lead a discussion about how we can deal with drugs in a different way,” said Vidal Llerenas, local lawmaker and sponsor of the Mexico City bill.