Mexico is on track to becoming the world’s largest legal market for cannabis after politicians in Congress voted for its recreational use.
This follows decades of violence surrounding the illegal drug trade. The bill was voted on the country’s lower house, 316 to 129, on 10 March, a move two years after their Supreme Court ruled a ban on recreational use of cannabis was unconstitutional.
“Today we are in a historic moment. With this, the false belief that cannabis is part of Mexico’s serious public health problems is left behind,” Simey Olvera, a politician from the president’s party Morena, who too supports the bill, said to The New York Times.
The next stage is to go on to be passed in the Senate and then finally be signed off by President Lopez Obrador to become the law.
Conservatives do not believe that the move will solve cartel violence.
“It’s a political fad. It’s a matter for politicians, for an elite that’s now empowered in Congress and in government that wants to impose its way of life on society.” Damian Zepeda Vidales, a National Action Party Senator.
An analyst for International Crisis Group in Mexico, Falko Ernst said that people should not “overestimate the power” of the bill, saying it will not “substantially change the dynamic and drivers of lethal conflict in Mexico”
If the bill is made into law, Mexico will become one of few nations in the Americas to legalise the drug for recreational use, following the example of Canada and Uruguay. The United States has hinted at bringing a bill to stop the nationwide ban on cannabis by the end of 2021.