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article imageMexico to push to legalize weed

By John Sevigny     Apr 19, 2016 in World
Washington - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto told the United Nations Tuesday he hopes the country will legalize medical marijuana and raise the amount people can possess for personal use.
"I give voice to those who have expressed the need to update the regulatory framework to authorize the use of marijuana for medical and scientific ends," Pena Nieto said at a special session in New York held to discuss the global problems of drugs and violence associated with the drug trade. He pointed to a "need to lift, in accordance with international standards, the amount of marijuana that can be considered for personal use, with the purpose of not criminalizing users,” Bloomberg reported.
Mexico has long served as the corridor through which marijuana, heroin, cocaine and other drugs enter the United States. The nation has also received billions of dollars in U.S. aid to combat drug cartels and served as a battleground for a brutal drug war between rival cartels and a government that sent armed forces after them under orders from former President Felipe Calderon.
More than 150,000 people have been killed in the resulting conflict, which brought daily gun battles to some cities and has left a patchwork of mass graves across deserts and jungles.
Pena Nieto plans to "announce new measures" regarding Mexico's marijuana laws in the coming days, according to Reuters.
Precise estimates vary but the drug trade is thought to generate billions of dollars in revenue for cartels. The president of the Mexican senate said he, too, supports some degree of decriminalization for marijuana. Observers, meanwhile, believe the move would do little to chip into cartel coffers, given that the groups move other drugs, including methamphetamines, and have expanded into kidnapping and human trafficking.
"It’s good because it reduces violence against users and it reduces users’ exposure to the criminal justice system," said Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "But in terms of impact on the behavior and revenue streams of criminal groups, I think it’s very small."
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