Mexico Considers Legalizing Marijuana

The Mexican Congress was presented a bill in November that would legalize marijuana use, production, and sale from within the country. Government leaders told Reuters that they are one of multiple Latin American countries unhappy about the U.S. policy of prohibition:

"The prohibitionist paradigm is a complete failure," said Fernando Belaunzaran, the author of the bill from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), who presented the proposal in Mexico's lower house of Congress..

"All this has done is spur more violence, the business continues. The country that has paid the highest costs is Mexico," he said in a telephone interview…

A conflict between drug gangs and security forces has killed more than 60,000 people during the six-year rule of outgoing President Felipe Calderon, who has repeatedly demanded the United States to do more to curb demand for illegal drugs…

Still, there is little popular support for marijuana legalization in Mexico. Recent polls show two-thirds or more of Mexicans are opposed to making it legal. Several other bills to legalize the drug have been rejected in recent years…

In September, Calderon and the leaders of Colombia and Guatemala - historically three of the most reliable U.S. partners on drug interdiction - called on world governments to explore new alternatives to the problem.

While there has been little apparent benefit from the "war on drugs," Mexico has seen the worst of its collateral damage. Can the U.S. government lead the way toward a saner policy or wait until other governments address the issue?

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