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Local Marijuana Legalization in U.S., Mexico May Impact Hemisphere-Wide Policy

Friday, March 7, 2014

In February, Mexico City lawmakers introduced two bills that would decriminalize and regulate the consumption of marijuana in the Mexican capital. Possession of marijuana for personal and medical uses would no longer be subject to incarceration as a first response, and legal marijuana dispensaries would be allowed in the capital. Mexico City’s move follows others in the U.S. states of Washington and Colorado, which approved initiatives by popular vote in late 2012 to legalize and regulate the personal use of marijuana for adults 21 and older, as well as commercial cultivation, manufacture and sale.

Together with Uruguay, which became the first country to legalize the growing, selling and smoking of marijuana last year, the governments of Mexico City, Washington state and Colorado are pioneering an experimental approach that may speed up drug legalization on the continent. For now, these approaches remain illegal under the federal laws of Mexico and the United States, but with the influence of drug cartels and the levels of violence and crime associated with drugs increasing, more countries across the Western hemisphere and beyond are considering alternative, and in some cases more liberal, approaches to the war on drugs. ...

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