The Mexican Senate [official website, Spanish ] on Tuesday approved [press release, in Spanish] the use of medical marijuana. The announcement was made on the official Senate twitter [tweet] along with a video of the debate. Number-803 allows for the use of cannabis and it derivatives for medicinal purposes. The bill also removed the substance from the list of public health concerns. The vote is seen as a move to transition to full legalization in order to combat the violence of the drug trade as well as assist those with health ailments. Senators warned the public that the use is for medical purposes only and there is still a criminalization of use and possession of the substance outside of the medicinal scope.
The legalization of marijuana [JURIST backgrounder] has gained momentum in recent months. A report released [JURIST report] in November by the Global Commission on Drug Policy recommends “no penalty whatsoever” for low-level possession and consumption drug offenses. Voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada approved [JURIST report] proposals to legalize recreational marijuana in November, while several other states voted to permit the use of medical marijuana. A study released [JURIST report] in October by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch found that arrests for possessing marijuana exceeded arrests for violent crimes.