President of Mexico Keeping Tabs on California Legalization Bid

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is “paying close attention” to California’s recreational-use vote this November, according to California state Senator Ben Allen, who met with the head-of-state yesterday. If the state passes Proposition 64, it would put pressure on Mexican lawmakers to reform the country’s cannabis laws, according to a Reuters report.

The meeting with state legislators was focused on trade and border issues, but lawmakers who attended said the president brought up the initiative without getting into details and the topic was not mentioned in the presidency’s report about the meeting.

In April, Peña Nieto introduced legislation that would allow Mexicans to possess up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use and has said the U.S. and Mexico should not diverge on marijuana policies. The decriminalization bill has stalled in the country’s Congress.

The bill, and the interest in California’s vote by Peña Nieto, is proof he has modified his conservative views on cannabis since his 2012 election. The country, like many South American nations, is constantly battling drug cartels, and legalization is considered a potential tool for pushing cartels out of the marijuana trade.

Legal cannabis is already available in the South American nation of Uruguay and Colombia legalized marijuana for medical and scientific purposes in December.

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