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Mexico lawmakers set to vote again on reduced drug possession sentences

[JURIST] The Mexican Senate [official website] will vote Wednesday on a bill to reduce the punishment for possessing "personal use" amounts of certain drugs for first-time offenders, Mexican lawmakers announced Monday. The bill imposes only a fine on first-time offenders found in possession of 1 gram or less of drugs like marijuana. According to Mexican Senator and Senate Judiciary president Alejandro Gonzalez Alcocer [official profile], a clause legalizing small amounts for all drug "consumers" that was mistakenly present in the House version of the bill will be eliminated from the Senate version. Additionally, the new measure allows the use of traditional hallucinogens in Indian rituals, and exempts addicts who are undergoing drug treatment. AP has more.

Last April, the Mexican Congress approved a more liberal bill [AP report] that legalized the possession of small amounts of some drugs for personal use across the board. Mexican President Vicente Fox [official website, in Spanish] originally planned to approve the bill, but then reversed his position [JURIST reports] following criticism from the US State Department that it would promote "drug tourism" by prompting masses of young Americans to travel to Mexico to buy illegal drugs. The Mexican Congress began work in June to revise the bill [JURIST report], hoping to override the potential veto by Fox.

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