Mexico took a step closer to legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational news as the Senate approved the bill to reduce violence linked to drug trafficking.
Its legalization still requires the approval of the lower house of Congress and the Chamber of Deputies which they have until December, 15th to study and approve.
“It’s objective is to promote peace in the country contributing to the reduction in illegal marketing for psychoactive cannabis, there by organize crime, violence and corruption” The Senate said in a statement
The bill was approved by 82 votes in favor, 18 against and seven abstentions.
A landmark Supreme Court ruling opened the door to the recreational use of marijuana in Mexico.
But it is still illegal to carry more than five grams (0.18 ounces), which would increase to 28 grams under the proposed law.
Anyone found to be carrying between 28 and 200 grams would be fined, and anyone with more than 200 grams could be criminally prosecuted.
Individuals shall be allowed to grow six plants per person at home for their own consumption.
As part of their campaign, Mexican pro-legalization activists have planted a marijuana garden right outside the Senate that has become an oasis for cannabis smokers.
Mexico is plagued by drug-related violence.
Since the government militarized the fight against the powerful drug cartels in 2006, there have been around 296,000 murders.