GUADALAJARA, Mexico – A left-wing politician has introduced a bill to legalize the production, sale and use of marijuana in Mexico, where a six-year militarized campaign against drug cartels has claimed the lives of nearly 60,000 people, CNN Mexico reported.
While the proposal by Fernando Belaunzaran from the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution is unlikely to make its way into law in a country where most people strongly oppose the legalization of drugs, it could fuel debate about Mexico’s anti-narcotic policy after Colorado and Washington voted last week to allow the recreational use of pot, Reuters reported.
“The prohibitionist paradigm is a complete failure,” Belaunzaran, who presented the bill to the lower house of Congress on Thursday, told Reuters.
“All this has done is spur more violence, the business continues. The country that has paid the highest costs is Mexico.”
Experts believe the US state initiatives – if they survive expected court challenges and continued enforcement of US federal drug laws, and are replicated across the country – could cost Mexico’s drug lords as much as 30 percent of their estimated $6.5 billion in annual earnings.
“We don't know how this is going to end, but we do believe that something big can happen,” says Alejandro Hope, author of a study by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, a private think tank, and a former senior crime analyst with Mexico's equivalent of the CIA.
Leaders from Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Costa Rica met Monday to discuss the potential implications of the Washington and Colorado votes, the Associated Press reported previously.
Marijuana legalization by US states was "a paradigm change on the part of those entities in respect to the current international system," Mexican President Felipe Calderon said after the talks. The four leaders promised to study the impact of the legislation on their efforts to stop drug smuggling.
The results of a survey by El Universal, published today, suggested 64 percent of Mexicans were open to a debate about the legalization of marijuana, but that 57 percent would oppose such a move.
Sixty-two percent of respondents said the Colorado and Washington votes would be detrimental to Mexico.
And despite the huge human toll of the country's war against drugs, 85 percent of respondents said they believed the next government should continue the campaign to stop drug trafficking.
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