Mexican Lawmakers on Medical Marijuana Legalization: Current Policy 'Not Working'

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Jan 26, 2016 05:30 AM EST

Mexican lawmakers are proposing a bill to legalize medical marijuana for patients in the country.

The bill is being proposed by Cristina Diaz, an Institutional Revolutionary Party senator. According to Reuters, legalizing medical marijuana would allow patients in the country access to the substance.

It is hoped that the bill will be passed by May of this year by Mexico's Congress. President Enrique Pena Nieto opposes the legalization of marijuana but has agreed on a national debate. Diaz hopes that the debate will help other lawmakers see the benefits of having medical marijuana legalized.

"Once the debates begin, that will raise awareness." she said. "This is a medical emergency. Nonetheless, I'm not trying to end the Mexican state's prohibition (of marijuana)."

Mexico's President of Chamber of Deputies, Jesus Zambrano, championed the legalization of both recreational and medical marijuana in the country. According to Telesur TV, Zambrano cites following Colombia and Italy in creating policies to decrease drug-related crimes. There have been more than 160,000 drug-related deaths in the country from 2007 to 2014.

"The topic has its international component and efforts need to be combined, particularly between the United States and Mexico, to have common rules, laws that are essentially identical, though each with its own modalities, because we are distinct, but the United States must help our country apply, for instance, legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use," Zambrano said, as the outlet reported.

Zambrano adds that the anti-drug policy which aims to punish people breaking the law has bred new drugs, human rights violations and promotion of organized crime groups in the country.

"We have the challenge of proposing an alternative to the problem of the illegal market for marijuana and its negative consequences. Or remain as we are, running the risk of compromising the health, security and dignity of people," he said during the hearing, Fox News reports.

Senate president Roberto Gil supports Zambrano's view by stating that current drug policy of the country "is not working."

We can't continue like this with the status quo, we have to use our imagination and take political responsibility to make the best decisions for Mexico," Gil said. He is a member of the conservative National Action Party.

On Dec. 11 of last year, four citizens won the case to be allowed to cultivate and recreationally use marijuana. The case was heard by the Supreme Court, however, the ruling did not grant them the right to sell or commercially produce marijuana.

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