Mexico Lawmakers Approve Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Mexico’s lawmakers have overwhelmingly passed a bill to legalize the medical use of marijuana.

According to Reuters, the bill sailed through the Senate in December, passed the Lower House of Congress on Friday, and will now be sent to President Enrique Pena Nieto, who is expected to sign it.

“The ruling eliminates the prohibition and criminalization of acts related to the medicinal use of marijuana and its scientific research, and those relating to the production and distribution of the plant for these purposes,” the Lower House said in a statement on its website.

The measure passed in a general floor vote with 371 in favor, seven against and 11 abstentions, and now classifies the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as “therapeutic.”

Speaking in April 2016 at a special session where world leaders gathered to rethink global strategy in the war on drugs for the first time in two decades, Pena Nieto said drug use should be addressed as a “public health problem” and users should not be criminalized.

Pena Nieto, once a vocal opponent of drug legalization, has said the United States and Mexico should not pursue diverging policies on marijuana legislation. Last year, he proposed a bill to allow Mexicans to carry up to an ounce of marijuana, a measure that has since stalled in Congress.

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