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Proposal in Mexico Would Decriminalize an Ounce, Free Some Drug Offenders

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is pushing for lawmakers in his country to raise the limit on decriminalized marijuana for personal use from five to 28 grams, according to an Associated Press report.

His proposal also asks Mexico’s Congress to free people on trial or incarcerated for possessing up to one ounce and would allow the use and importation of cannabis-based medicine. Possessing larger amounts would remain punishable under the country’s drug trafficking laws.

Last November, Mexico’s Supreme Court approved an appeal by members of anti-crime group Mexico United Against Crime, and marijuana activists Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Consumption. The groups argued that they have the right to grow and distribute cannabis for personal use. The court’s criminal chamber ruled in their favor – recognizing an individual’s freedom to take part in recreational activities harmless to others is a principle of human rights – but the ruling only applies to the groups’ petitions, according to a New York Times report.

“We Mexicans know all too well the range and the defects of prohibitionist and punitive policies, and of the so-called war on drugs that has prevailed for 40 years,” Pena Nieto said. “Our country has suffered, as few have, the ill effects of organized crime tied to drug trafficking.”

According to Peña Nieto, if enacted, the move would effectively decriminalize consumption in the country, and keep pace with a “gradually emerging” worldwide consensus to reform drug policies.

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