Gary J. Wood

Mexico’s Cannabis Reform Bill Stalled by Senate

Mexico’s senate has postponed discussing a bill to reform marijuana laws in the country until at least September, VICE reports, raising doubts that President Enrique Peña Nieto’s support for the proposal was anything more than good public relations.

“It looks like he never really wanted it,” Lisa Sánchez, drug policy expert and activist, said in the report. “It’s either that, or [the Institutional Revolutionary Party] now considers that Peña is the liability and his opinion is worth nothing from now until the next presidential elections in 2018.”

Peña submitted the legislation – which would have legalized medical marijuana and raised the decriminalized possession threshold – to lawmakers last April. During a speech to the UN General Assembly, he lauded the bill as a “historic step” in reforming the nation’s drug policies. However, Sánchez noted, it was the president’s own party (PRI) that stalled the bill.

In addition to providing medical cannabis and raising possession amounts, the measure would have reclassified possession as a violation of health legislation instead of a federal penal code violation – which, if enacted, would have freed about 13,000 people jailed in Mexico for minor marijuana crimes.

That reclassification was removed by the PRI, along with the possession thresholds, leaving just the medical portion of the bill – which was also changed by the party to favor the pharmaceutical industry.

“The congress will have to discuss it again but I wouldn’t trust our legislators,” Sánchez said.

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